BoJack Horseman Season Three: “We’re Just Tiny Speaks that will one day be Forgotten.”

4 and a half stars
The tragic life of BoJack Horseman continues in season three, which is my favourite season of the series so far.
It all kicks off with BoJack touring to receive an Oscar nomination and from there the show continues to lay out its themes of depression and destructive behavior in both meaningful and tragic ways.
The season was not all sad though because there were a few uplifting episodes like “Fish Out Of Water” to add some feel-good moments to the show.
However, when this season gets depressing, boy does it hit you hard.
This is because season three primarily deals with how BoJack’s self-destructive personality affects those around him like Princess Carolyn and Sarah-Lynn (Kristen Schaal).
This all leads into the final few episodes, which deliver an emotional powerhouse of an ending.

BoJack and Sarah Lynn
The final two episodes of BoJack Horseman season three are real tearjerkers.

The title to episode eleven “That’s Too Much Man!” was an accurate one because the ending to this episode actually had me crying.
Seriously, now everyone time I hear someone say they want to be an architect I will be probably get as depressed as BoJack.
Then there was the ending to the final episode of the season, “That Went Well”, which looked to be going full speed ahead towards a dark and depressing end to the season before concluding on a somewhat hopeful and reflective note, just like the end of season one.
This all came together to deliver an emotional ending to a great season.
Along with this the comedy aspects of the show is also done well but, once again, it is the emotional gut punches that make BoJack Horseman such a great show.
Season three of BoJack Horseman was the best season so far because of its fantastically delivered emotional moments and I cannot wait to watch season four because I have heard its just as emotionally powerful.

Attack on Titan Volume 21 Review: The Basement Reveal Delivers the Best Chapter so far.

Chapter 83: Falling Axe.

4 stars
The follow-up chapter to Armin’s heroic sacrifice, Chapter 83, “Falling Axe” is set-up for the three brilliant chapters to follow in this volume.
Much like the previous chapter, it starts off great showing how Eren and Armin first met, with Eren encountering Armin after he had been beaten up by bullies.
Armin’s words about how he did not really lose because he did not run away and then Eren asking his name made for a fantastic transition into the current timeline where Eren is trying to cope with Armin’s charred body.
Before he can do anything, however, he is interrupted by Zeke (and the other Titan) who confront each other in their first meeting.
While I did like the scene between the two, after reading the rest of the volume I felt like the twist to who Zeke is probably should have been revealed here because we do not see Eren’s reaction to this.
However, it still is an interesting scene and if I had not already been spoiled on who Zeke was it would have been very intriguing build-up.
I especially liked how Zeke told Eren he would rescue him some day because it shows that Zeke thinks he is in the right.
However, their meeting is interrupted by Levi who naturally killed all the Titans Zeke sent after him, which prompts Zeke to go rescue Reiner.
But, before he is rescued, Hange and the others manage to retrieve a letter from Ymir to Historia that was in his possession.
Unfortunately, this adds to my increasing fears that Ymir is already dead, which I hope is not true because she is one of my favourite characters and I feel she could add a lot to the story given more screen time.
The chapter ends with the surviving soldier from Erwin’s suicide run at Zeke arriving with a badly injured Erwin leaving Levi to decide who should get the Titan Serum and eat Bertholdt, Erwin or Armin.
Once again, I had been spoiled on who would eat Bertholdt so this did not leave much investment for me by the end.
However, this does not change the fact that “Falling Axe” is still great build-up.
It might have its minor problems but it delivers quite a few great scenes like the first meeting between Eren and Zeke.

Chapter 84. Midnight Sun.

5 stars
As I said, I had already been spoiled on who would eat Bertholdt and become the Colossal Titan so I figured this chapter would not be very investing but, oh, how wrong I was.
“Midnight Sun” is an incredible chapter of Attack on Titan that delivers so much emotion.
I really wish I had not been spoiled on what would happen because this was just amazing to read.
First of all, I now know what that great mid-credits scene at the end of episode twelves of season three was all about.
The reason Levi is fighting with Eren and Mikasa is because he wants to give the Serum to Erwin while they want to give it to Armin.
However, before Mikasa can do anything crazy, Hange and the others show up and calm everyone down.
Both sides give good justifications for who should be chosen to eat Bertholdt, including the new character Floch, who compares Erwin to the devil, saying only he can save humanity.
Eren tries to get Levi to choose Armin by bringing up his dream to see the ocean.
This moment was so powerful it left me tearing up, which was a huge surprise because I already knew how it would end, showing just how amazing this chapter was at drawing out emotions.
In the end though, Levi chooses to save Armin and finally let Erwin rest.
The reveal that Armin was the one chosen was expertly handled and the death of Bertholdt that followed left me feeling sorry for him, despite everything he had done.
Then there was the death of Erwin.
Erwin is in my top five favourite characters of the series so I was sad to see him go but I personally believe he was killed off in a great way that tied off his character arc brilliantly.
I was also glad that I had not been spoiled on at least one major character death.
I knew coming in that Erwin would probably die because I had been spoiled Armin would become the Colossal Titan but I still had my reservations because I had not been spoiled.
So, it was nice to see a major character death I did not know for a certainty would be happening.
Speaking of character deaths, we also got confirmation this chapter that Moblit died saving Hange.
I feel like his death will probably be overlooked compared to Erwin and Bertholdt’s but he was still a great side character with a heroic death and I will miss him.
Overall, Midnight Sun was a perfect chapter that delivered a great emotional gut punch, even though I knew what was coming.

Chapter 85: Basement.

4 and a half stars
After 84 chapters of build-up, we finally got the reveal of what was inside the basement in Chapter 85 and it did not disappoint.
I was so glad I did not get spoiled about what was in there because what is revealed in this chapter and the next one open up the world of Attack on Titan in so many amazing ways.
We see at the end of the chapter that what Grisha left for Eren in his basement was a book that explains everything, along with a photo, writing that outside the walls humanity is not extinct.
This was a fantastic cliffhanger that led into the next chapter amazingly.
Not only this, but the cliffhanger also built on the recently departed Erwin’s legacy because we get a flashback to Nile telling the other military leaders that Erwin’s theory was that there were still humans outside the walls.
Well, his theory is confirmed with the ending cliffhanger, which  not only adds to his legacy but it makes his death all the more tragic because he could not see that he was right all along.
The rest of the chapter is just as great, starting off with Armin waking up after eating Bertholdt.
The panel where he hallucinates(?) the crying face of Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan with half of its face a skull is very striking.
Eren’s reaction to Armin waking up was also very touching and Levi’s pep-talk with Armin about saying there should be “no regrets” was a fantastic reference to his OVA with the same title.
After this, we get another great panel with a before and after shot of Mikasa and Armin arriving at their old home in the present and when they went to save Carla after Bertholdt breached the wall.
This leads to the scene in the basement where, originally, I though Hajime Isayama was going to pull something where it turned out that there was actually noting in the basement.
This fear was caused by Eren’s key not fitting the basement door and the group initially not finding anything in there.
Thankfully, this fear was unjustified because they later discovered Grisha’s book, leading to the fantastic cliffhanger.
I am so glad Isayama actually revealed there was something in the basement because if he had pulled a fast one then I would have hated it.
The final cliffhanger in “Basement” is the standout of the chapter and leads brilliantly into the next chapter, the incredible “That Day.”

 

Chapter 86: That Day.

5 stars
Coming into this chapter, I was expecting the full explanation of the world of Attack on Titan.
I not only got that but also my favourite chapter of the entire manga so far.
“That Day” is an absolutely incredible chapter and I cannot wait to see it animated when the second half of the season three anime airs in April.
This chapter has one of the best cases of world building I have ever seen, with Grisha’s notes revealing who is actually behind everything in the series.
It is revealed that over a thousand years ago a woman named Ymir Fritz supposedly made a deal with the devil and became the first Titan Shifter.
After she died, her powers were transferred into nine people, creating the nine Titan Shifters who built the empire of Eldia.
Centuries later, Eldia was overthrown by the nation of Marley who oppressed the remaining Eldians as punishment for years of genocide under them.
Some Eldians fled to the island of Paradis, under King Fritz, where the walls were created with the Founding Titan power and everyone’s memories were wiped.
It is also stated the reason Marley sent its Warriors to attack Paradis was because of the large amount of fossil fuels there and to retake the Founding Titan.
This one piece of exposition takes the previously small world of Attack on Titan and expands it exponentially.
It opens up so many interesting opportunities and questions.
Did Ymir really make a deal with the devil, how is she connected to the Ymir we know, along with Marley are there any other countries and cultures out there?
These are all interesting questions and I cannot wait for them to be answered.
It is also brilliant with how Grisha’s backstory ties into the explanation, with the persecution he faces at the hands of Marley being very similar to the ways the Nazis treated Jewish people before the Holocaust, a comparison Isayama is obviously trying to make.
Watching Grisha be motivated to begin his stand against Marley because of the violent death of his sister and the completely brainwashed fear his father presents was amazing for him character development wise, and all of this in one chapter.
This led to Grisha joining the Eldia Restorationists where he met Dina Fritz, a descendant of the royal family.
They eventually married and, in a brilliant twist, are revealed to have had a son who is Zeke, which makes him and Eren half-brothers.
Still, while this was a great twist, I do wish it had been revealed earlier when Eren and Zeke first met in Chapter 83 because we do not get a reaction from Eren to them having the same father.
That said, I still like the twist and the one that follows it when Zeke betrays his parents to the Marley government after Grisha tries to turn him into one of Marley’s warriors as a double agent.
This adds new meaning to Zeke’s first meeting with Eren when he tells him Grisha has brainwashed him, likely believing his father tried to do the same thing to him.
The chapter can end before more details about Grisha’s past can be revealed but what we got and how this tied into the explanation of what was outside the walls was nothing short of brilliant.
I had fears that the reveal of what was outside the walls would not live up to expectations but those fears were baseless because this reveal was everything I hoped for and more.
It had fantastic world building, fit in with the themes, and had great character development for Grisha to go along with this.
Chapter 86 “That Day” is my favourite chapter of Attack on Titan so far.

Overlord: A+ B Movie that has to be Seen in Theaters.

4 stars
The concept of Nazi zombies has been around for some time so it is a wonder this crazy idea has never given a big budget action film to go along with it until now.
When I saw the trailers for Overlord I was very intrigued by it but I was not expecting it to be a must-see film in theaters.
However, it definitely is.
This is not because Overlord is a perfect film but because it is a perfect B Movie, only with a bigger budget.
The plot of Overlord centers around a group of soldiers who are dropped into Nazi occupied France the night before D-Day to destroy a radio tower so the troops will be able to invade.
However, upon arriving, they discover the Nazis are using villagers for inhumane experiments that bring the dead back to life and set out to stop them.
I was on the edge of my seat the entire time when watching this film and it never got dull.
Yes, the characters are pretty cliche with nothing more than basic depth and the plot goes pretty much how you expect, but this works because the film knows what is is.

boyce-and-ford.jpg
Even though the main character Boyce, played by Jovan Adepo, and various other characters like Ford, Wyatt Russel, are fairly generic, they still work for this kind of film.

Overlord never tries to create meaningful characters or go anywhere deep because that is not what it is trying to do.
I think the director, Julius Avery, was trying to create a fun, edge of your seat action movie first and he definitely succeeded.
If there were any legitimate flaws I had with the movie it would be that there are a few plot holes in the story, one of which really drew me out of the moment.
However, other than this, the film is great.
The opening scene alone is reason enough to see this movie because it is well-shot, has brilliant sound design and is exploding with tension.

overlord opening scene
The opening scene of Overlord is the best of film by far and gives a Saving Private Ryan  feeling to the film until the zombies show up.

While Overlord never does meet the extreme heights of this opening sequence the rest of the film is still edge of your seat exciting.
It was rumored that Overlord was a Cloverfield continuation because of J.J Abrams’ involvement but this is false, which is good because this film stands better on its own.
I cannot stress how highly I suggest seeing this movie in theaters.
I saw Overlord on Xtremescreen at Hoyts and it made the experience all the more memorable through how it heightened the action and already fantastic sound design.
Another reason I suggest seeing this in theaters is because the film deserves it.
Overlord looks to be a flop in terms of Box Office as not many people are going to see it, which is a shame because of how fun it is to watch.
Just to be clear, even though I am singing praises for this movie, Overlord is not a perfect film.
The characters are cliche and the plot does not go anywhere special.
However, as a B Movie that knows what is it, Overlord is fantastic for a fun time at the movies.

The Walking Dead Issue 185, On Guard Review: The Calm Before the Inevitable Storm.

3 and a half stars
When Rick got his hand cut off by the Governor all the way back in the prison arc, I never thought there would be a twist where he gained the magical ability to grow it back.
However, in the latest issue of The Walking Dead, “On Guard”, Rick obtained this ability because while talking with Dwight his hand magically grew back!
Okay, time to get serious now.
In all honesty Rick’s hand appearing to have grown back was nothing more than a funny mistake.
That said though, the scene where this happened was anything but funny, with Rick confronting Dwight about his actions throughout “On Guard.”
This moment marked the culmination of Dwight’s devious actions, which began right from the last issue’s cliffhanger, where Dwight was angered by Rick’s refusal to attempt a take over of the Commonwealth.
Here, in the beginning of the issue, Rick logically points out to Dwight why they could never take the Commonwealth by force and tells him to get out.
After this, Dwight attacks some soldiers to gauge the citizens’ reaction and is thrown in jail.
This leads to the ending scene of the issue where Rick confronts Dwight (and we are given that funny mistake of Rick’s regrown hand), with him again logically pointing out why Dwight is wrong.
I do not think Dwight will listen though, despite how much I hate where his character is going.
He was such an amazing character in the Whisperer Arc, however, after Sherry’s death, he has been in a slow downward spiral.
I do not know if Robert Kirkman is trying to make him unlikable but if he is not then he really needs to improve on Dwight’s character.
Still, Dwight’s antics did lead to be best part of the issue, which was the cliffhanger.
In the final scene, after Rick once again points out how dangerous Dwight’s plan is, he is confronted by Mercer who overheard the conversation.
Mercer calls Rick “the leader the Commonwealth needs” in a fantastic bit of development from him that shows just how impressed he has become of Rick and his people during the brief time they have known each other.
This also has massive implications for the next chapter because, based on the chapter, it looks like someone will try to assassinate Pamela with Rick getting in the way so maybe this is an expansion of Mercer’s endorsement of Rick.
That said, I do not think Mercer will be the one aiming the gun at Pamela because he has stated previously he has never wanted her dead so I have no idea who the gunman will be.
The rest of “On Guard” was pretty decent, with both good and bad moments.
For example, the scene where Rick breaks down into tears over how much Andrea would have loved the Commonwealth was a great scene.
However, the one where Sophia complained to Carl about how she has never had sex had a lot of cringe to it and I really hope it is not setting up some kind of love triangle between them and Lydia.
Although, there were plenty of good and bad moments in this issue I am eagerly looking forward to the next one.
Multiple things are hinting at this issue, “The Powder Keg,” being a big turning point, from its title, to the cover, to even a scene between Magna and Yumiko in “On Guard.”
In a moment between the two Magna comments, “when things are peaceful, that’s all just killing time between the horror.”
And if that is not an ominous hint towards next issue then I do not know what is.

Top 15 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Characters

Warning: Contains Spoilers!

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a fantastic anime that many consider to be one of the best.
Based off the manga by Hiromi Arakawa, the series is full of funny, likeable and often amazing characters who really stuck with me.
So now I’m going to count down my top 15 favourites.
A few honorable mentions go out to characters who just missed out like Maes Hughes, Father, Alex Louis Armstrong, Tim Marcoh and Mei Chang.
So now, let’ get into the countdown.

15. Winry Rockbell
Winry Rockbell

Winry Rockbell is the childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse, and your go to girl on anything automail related.
She may not have that big of a role to the overall plot but she is still a key character in the Elric Brothers’ lives, especially Ed.
Her relationship with him is built up well and they have great chemistry, making their awkward interactions fun to watch.
She is also a very funny character when it comes to her obsession with automail, with her often going full on fan girl over it or attacking Ed whenever he damages his.
Winry’s best moments in the series, however, comes from her interactions with Scar and how she comes to terms with accepting help from her parents’ murderer.
She does not forgive Scar but helps him because it was what her parents would have wanted, showing true strength.
Unfortunately, this plot line did not get resolved but it was still a standout moment for her.
Winry is a very likeable character with a lot of great moments, even if she does not have much relevance plot wise.

14. Solf J. Kimblee
Solf J. Kimblee

I am going to be honest and say that for most of the series I did not like Solf J. Kimblee as a character.
He was a complete psychopath who relished in his violence but also had kind of an interesting moral code.
The problem for me is that, for whatever reason, I found him to be kind of shallow and did not see much of a reason for him to be there in the story, as his part could easily have been taking over by any of the homunculi.
However, this all changed in the 61st episode, one of the last episodes of the anime, “He Who Would Swallow God”, where Kimblee had a complete turn around moment for me character wise.
After being eaten by Pride in a previous episode, Kimblee’s soul returns to help Ed defeat him.
He did this not for vengeance or a change of heart but because he was genuinely disgusted by Pride’s lowering himself by attempting to possess Ed’s body, which made him unworthy of winning in Kimblee’s mind.
This final action by Kimblee made me see him in a brand new light and I certainly appreciated him a lot more.
It added new layers to him by showing his warped sense of honor as he stops Pride from possessing Ed and then departs with a wave of his hat.

13. Lan Fan
Lan Fan

Bodyguard to Ling Yao, Lan Fan is a capable warrior intent on serving her prince to the bitter end.
Like Winry, Lan Fan was not a character who had that much importance to the overall story but she certainly made an impression on me through her determination and spirit.
When she and Ling face off against Wrath and Gluttony she begs Ling to leave her behind after she is injured.
When he refuses, she cuts off her own arm to use as a distraction for them to escape.
The inner strength she showed to make this sacrifice really stuck out to me and she continued to shine when she reappeared in the final stages of the anime to help battle the homunculi, this time with an automail arm.
Even after losing her grandfather Fu, Lan Fan continues to fight for her prince and what she believes is right.
All of this makes her stand out as a likeable and strong willed character, making her one of the best side characters the show has to offer.

12. Selim Bradley / Pride
Pride

This creepy kid probably stands as one of the most dangerous children in anime (that is if you can even consider him a child since he is a homunculus).
However, you would not know it from his first scene where Selim Bradley seems to be nothing but an ordinary boy.
The first time he appeared I actually felt sorry for him because I wondered what he would think when he learnt that his father, King Bradley, was a homunculus.
So, imagine my shock when, in the best twist of the series, Selim was revealed to be the homunculus Pride, the first one created by Father.
From here he goes from cute kid to creepy kid and one of the most dangerous of the homunculi.
What I like about Pride is how scary he can be and yet be so capable of pulling off the facade of an innocent child.
Better yet was his humane moments when it is revealed that despite his cruel nature he has come to love his fake family.
This all leads into a great ending for Selim when, after being defeated by Ed and Kimblee, he reverts to a fetus and is later seen being raised by his adopted mother, this time as the innocent boy he always pretended to be.
Pride was both the scariest homunculi and one of the best of them.

11. Olivier Mira Armstrong
olivier-armstrong.jpg

Do not mess with Oliver Armstrong if have any intention of living a long life.
Introduced about half way through the anime, Olivier quickly became a standout character through her commanding personality.
Olivier is the leader of the men at Briggs and, after just a few episodes, it became very clear why they followed her.
She is not only commanding but also very smart through how she deals with her enemies.
Lieutenant General Raven can attest to that.
The more we saw of Olivier the more I found myself wanting to know more about her and how she became the leader of Briggs.
Unfortunately, we did not get much of a backstory on her but this does not change the fact that she is still a great character with a lot of likability.
Her relationship with her brother Alex, who just missed out on this list, also did a lot for her because she put their antagonism aside for the good of her country.
Olivier is right up there with great military leaders in anime like Commander Erwin from Attack on Titan. 

10. Fuhrer King Bradley / Wrath
Wrath

One of the main villains of the series and the youngest of the homunculi, despite his looks, Fuhrer King Bradley, or Wrath, is a force to be reckoned with.
Personally, I was not a fan of him when he first showed up because it was made incredibly obvious in the first episode that he would turn out to be a villain so there was no suspense to this reveal.
Also, who would have thought that someone called the Fuhrer would turn out to be a bad guy? (Note the sarcasm.)
However, Wrath quickly grew on me as a man to be feared with immense power and a compelling story.
Wrath was raised to become the leader of his country to further Father’s plans and even though he is aware he is being used he does not care, with his sole purpose being to sate the immense anger he feels.
There is some humanity in him though because he takes pride in the fact that, even with every single aspect of his life has been planned, he was allowed to choose his wife.
Wrath is also probably one of the most powerful characters of the series, with him being able to take down a tank single-handed.
He also had, in my opinion, the best death of the series.
Throughout Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Wrath constantly states his disdain for the idea of a god but, in the end, he is miraculously beaten by Scar in what could be considered an act of god.
It was an ironic death that suited him perfectly, especially with his final moments.
Wrath is one of the most threatening characters of the series

9. Alphonse Elric
Alphonse Elric

The secondary protagonist of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Alphonse Elric is the good natured younger brother of Ed, who lost his entire body when he and Ed attempted to bring their mother back using the forbidden act of human transmutation.
From this, Al and Ed attempt to find a way to get their original bodies back, which is the driving force of the series.
Al is generally more level headed than his older brother, presenting a calm spirit inside the suit of armor his soul has been placed in.
He is also a confident fighter, being stronger than Ed sometimes.
However, Al is not without his personal weaknesses, most notably his fear that he is just a copy of the real Al his brother created.
This creates some great character development moments for him that make him all the more likeable.
He even has some funny moments as well, especially when he is paired with Ed.
But it is his constant drive to get his real body back and escape his armored shell  of a body that produces the strongest feelings for him.
This is because of his constant feelings of isolation and impending doom with the body he is in.
Al’s struggle is one of the most touching of the series and makes him a great character.

8. Envy
Envy

I hate Envy.
they are a detestable excuse of a creature who I was constantly hoping would get what was coming to them.
The reason they are number eight on my favourite characters list though, is because they are supposed to be hated.
Envy is, without a doubt in my mind, the most evil of the homunculi.
Sure, Father wanted to kill millions of people but this was so he could achieve his goal.
Envy would do this for fun and enjoy every second of it.
This is the one who boasted about killing a man while they had shape-shifted into the form of his wife.
However, while being completely unlikable, Envy is still fun to watch through how their often child-like personality mixes with their sadistic one.
It makes them a very entertaining character.
Another thing I really like about Envy is their death, which reveals they hates humans so much because they are jealous of them.
This revelation results in Envy breaking down into tears, before removing their philosopher’s stone, killing themselves.
This was a very sad ending for Envy and resulted in much of the anime’s audience feeling sorry for them.
I personally could not after all they had done, but the fact that a lot the audience did feel sorry for such a detestable creature in their final moments show just how great of a character Envy is.

7. Ling Yao
Lin Yao

Ling Yao is the twelfth prince of Xing, who seeks out the Elric brothers in a mission to gain immortality to become emperor of his country.
He does not want to do this for power though but for his people because Ling is a good man with the determination to do right by his people.
This does not stop him from getting involved in Amestris’ problems, however. because he and his bodyguards are drawn into the battle with the homunculi.
Ling’s confrontation with them is much more personal though because it leads to him being taken over by the homunculus Greed.
What follows is an unexpected yet powerful friendship between the two that made me care for both characters.
Ling seems like a mainly comedic character when we first meet him but when things get serious so does he, showing he will fight to protect those he cares for.
This makes him a very endearing character, capable of both comedic and epic moments.
The way his story concludes, with him finally becoming emperor is much deserving and I am sure Xing is all the better for it.

6. Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye

If you want anyone to have your back in a bad situation it would definitely be Riza Hawkeye.
Fiercely loyal to anyone who gains her gratitude, Riza is an experienced soldier and an expert sharp shooter (hence the irony in her last name).
She was one of the soldiers who took part in the Ishvalalan War of Extermination, which scarred her for life both figuratively and literally.
Her horror at the genocide committed there led to her asking Roy Mustang to burn the tattoos that teach flame alchemy from her back to prevent another atrocity from occurring.
All this leads to her being very protective of Roy as a close ally and friend, defending him even when he never asked for it.
This is most apparent in her best scene when she aims her gun at Roy to stop him from killing Envy.
Not because she wants Envy to live but because she is afraid of what Roy will become if he goes through with it.
Riza ends the series as she starts it, by Roy’s side, showing an admirable amount of fierce loyalty and respect that goes both ways.
As a result she is one of the most determined characters of the anime.

5. Edward Elric
Edward Elric

The protagonist of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Edward Elric is a very enjoyable and likeable character with a great amount of strength, both action and character wise.
We see him grow from the beginning to the end of the anime through his determination to get him and his brother’s bodies back, showing him to be a very selfless character who is trying to make amends for his past mistakes.
Ed is also one of the most comedic characters of the show, constantly freaking out whenever someone calls him short.
This is a recurring gag throughout the series that shows he can be comedic as well as serious.
This seriousness is amplified through the relationships he has with his friends and family.
From his antagonistic relationship with his father, to him trying to deal with his feelings for Winry, to the guilt he feels over what happened to his brother.
All of these combine to create an emotional journey for Ed through these relationships, all of which (except for one) receive a fitting and satisfying end.
The moment when he sacrifices his alchemy to bring his brother back shows true dedication to protecting those he loves and his strength in vowing to never kill anyone, as can be seen with how he spared Pride, shows how well developed he is.
Ed is a great main character of for this anime and one I can see a lot of people getting along with if he were real (just do not make the mistake of calling him short).

4. ScarScar

Scar has one of the best arcs of the series, going from a villain to a redeemed hero over the course of the anime.
His backstory is a tragic one, with him going on a killing spree, murdering various State Alchemists after he witnesses his entire family’s murder by Kimblee.
However, it is not long before he is confronted with his crimes through Winry, whose parents he murdered, and slowly begins to transition into a redeemed hero.
It was a joy to see him transition to this point and how his arc ended, with him facing off against Wrath, the man responsible for the genocide of his people.
This resulted in the culmination of his arc when he used alchemy, the very thing he despised at the beginning of the story, to defeat Wrath, therefore embracing a part of himself that he hated.
It was also nice to see Scar go from a loner to having trusted friends such as Mei because we can see that he genuinely came to care for her during their time together.
At the end of the anime, we see Scar working with Miles to restore his people, making amends for his past wrongs.
The only thing that was missing was a scene between him and Winry to wrap up their conflict but, other than that, it was perfect.
Scar started off as a tragic character who became a heroic one in a story of redemption.

3. Roy Mustang
Roy Mustang

Roy Mustang is easily one of the most powerful characters in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, with him being ultimately responsible for defeating two of the homunculi, Lust and Envy.
However, Roy is not just a great character because of his power but also because of his likability.
He is a character with dreams, hoping to correct the mistakes of the past by becoming the next Fuhrer and making amends for the atrocities he helped commit in the Ishvalan War.
He is also prone to a few comedic moments here and there as well, specifically when he is pared with Ed and Al.
Like Ed, the relationships he has with other characters throughout the series only added to his likability, with his close connection with Riza and old friend Maes Hughes helping in this regard, especially with Hughes.
Watching Roy’s mission to avenge the death of his friend was great to see and it lead to a very powerful moment with him facing down Envy.
The look on his face at this moment is one that would scare anyone and it made perfect sense why Riza had to make sure he did not go through with killing Envy so he would not become what he hated.
Roy was a great character with a gripping revenge arc and plenty of amazing moments that defined him as one of the best characters of the anime.

2. Van Hohenheim
Van Hohenheim

When Van Hohenheim first appeared, I thought he was just an everyday, stereotypically neglectful anime dad but, as the series progressed, it became clear he was anything but.
This was a brilliant case of subversion on Hiromi Arakawa’s part.
By making Hohenheim seems like a bad father at first it only made him all the more compelling when it was revealed how kindhearted he actually was.
Hohenheim is easily the most tragic character of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, as detailed by the fantastic episode 40, “The Dwarf in the Flask.”
However, he does not let this tragedy define him and goes on to avenge not only what happened to him but to everyone in his country who were murdered for him and Father’s immortality.
Hohenheim is such a great character that he even makes the clip show episode of the series good because it is one of the first episodes that hints at his past and shows his connection with his wife Trisha.
He also easily has one of the most emotional journeys of the entire anime, topped only by the character who took the number one spot.
The way he died at the end, with him visiting Trisha’ grave and reflecting on his life, had me tearing up.
I only wish he had got a goodbye scene between him and his sons, Ed and Al, because that would have made his character arc perfect.
As it stands though, Hohenheim is a fantastic character who is a lot more than he seems when he first appears.

1. Greed

Greed ghost form

I was incredibly surprised when watching the anime and I realised that Greed had become my favourite character.
Just like when Hohenheim first appeared, I originally found Greed to be very one note.
He just seemed to be an embodiment of his name without any nuance and lasted only a couple of episodes before appearing to die.
I honestly did not care for him at that point.
But then he was brought back to life, being placed in control of Ling’s body and everything changed.
From this point onwards Greed goes through some absolutely fantastic character development, becoming not only my favourite homunculi but my favourite character as well.
It is through his antagonism and then growing friendship with Ling that both we, as the audience, and Greed himself learn how much he actually cares for people.
The scene where Greed murders his friend and then Ling forces him to remember who he was, telling him he does not deserve to be called Greed, which leads to Greed screaming over his friend’s dead body in agony and grief is one of the most powerful moments of the anime.
He continues to grow more, going from an antagonist, to anti-hero, to full on hero, with him contributing greatly to the defeat of, not just Bradley, but Father as well.
This led to Greed sacrificing himself to save Ling and help defeat Father.
Watching him slowly fade from existence while he thanks Ling and Ed for teaching him that he wanted friends all along brought me to tears when I first saw it.
He even had a great impact on the other characters, with Ling most likely choosing to help Mei’s family because of Greed’s influence.
Greed’s growth from his first appearance to the end of the anime was absolutely amazing and because of this he is my favourite character of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Did Rick and Maggie get an Appropriate Send off in the Walking Dead?

The fifth episode of the ninth season of The Walking Dead, “What Comes After”, recently aired, being the final episode for Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes and Lauren Cohan’s Maggie Rhee, at least for a little while.
When I first head these two were leaving I honestly thought the show was doomed with two of its central characters (Rick being the main character) departing.
However, after viewing all five episodes of this season so far and seeing the direction it is heading, I actually think with Angela Kang as the showrunner The Walking Dead may continue to deliver a compelling narrative.
But even so, this does leave the question of whether the departures of such major characters as Rick and Maggie were done right?
Since Rick is the main character, I will start with him.
Coming into this episode I was very concerned with how he would leave the show because I thought we were going to get another Carl situation with a bad death for such an important character.
This concern was generated by the ending of the previous episode, where Rick accidentally impaled himself on some rods.
I came in feeling like I knew what was going to happen, with Rick hallucinating all of his dead friends before dying of blood loss.
However, while that first part was right, the second, thankfully, was not.
Rick does experience numerous hallucinations and all but one of them are handled expertly.
Seeing Rick interact with Shane and Hershel again was a joy to see, especially Shane because their scene together spoke a lot about how far Rick had come.
The one hallucination I did not like, however, was when Rick talked with Sasha.
This was Rick’s final hallucination and of all the characters for him to talk to during it, Sasha would have been at the bottom of my list.
She and Rick barely interacted and I do not think they were even that close so seeing Rick hallucinate her giving him this emotional pep talk made absolutely no sense.
It should have been Glenn, Lori or Carl Rick talked to, not Sasha.
Other than this though, the hallucinations were all handled well and added to the tension.
Then came Rick’s “death scene” where he blew up the bridge while he and the herd of Walkers were still on it to save his friends.
This was very emotional and if Rick had died here I would actually have been OK with it because it left a big emotional impact and served a logical purpose, unlike Carl’s death.
However, this was not the end for Rick because Jadis saved him by taking him on the helicopter with her.
And so Rick departed the show on this helicopter, with the ending song from the very first episode “Space Junk” by Wang Chung playing in a fitting end his story on the show.
This did leave me wondering what would happen to him in the future but this question was answered when I learned Andrew Lincoln would be starring in the recently announced The Walking Dead spin off movies.
When I first learned this, I laughed but, after thinking about it, I realised this could be interesting.
I will just have to wait and see the movies to know if it was a good idea to keep Rick alive for this.
Overall, Rick’s sendoff this episode was both touching and fitting, and I think they did a great job with it.
Not so much for Maggie I am afraid.
I would go as far to say that Maggie’s sendoff this episode was handled incredibly badly.
I will say I did like what happened to her in this episode, with her finally confronting Negan over Glenn’s death in a scene that, while not as good as the comics, was still very impactful.
However, there was literally nothing in the episode that would suggest this was Maggie’s last episode.
No emotional sendoff, no death, nothing.
It was like they completely forgot this was supposed to be her final episode until they had actually completed it.
Hopefully they can at least give a logical reason for her departure in the next episode.
Speaking of which, even though these two incredibly important characters have departed the show, I am still looking forward to what is to come this season.
We will be getting the full introduction of Magna and her group next episode, The Whisperers will be introduced soon, and it looks like Judith will now be taking center stage in a surprising yet welcome turn of events.
All in all, the future for The Walking Dead looks bright, even with these departures.

Attack on Titan Volume 20 Review: The Best Chapters of the Entire Arc so Far.

Chapter 79: Perfect Game.

4 stars
Setting up the amazing battle between the Scouts and the Colossal and Beast Titan in later chapters, Chapter 79 “Perfect Game” is another great addition to the Shiganshina arc.
Picking up with a fantastic panel of the Colossal Titan’s face as he destroys Shiganshina, the chapter immediately sets up the threat he poses, with even Armin having no idea how to beat him.
This causes him to hand over leadership to Jean and, in a last ditch effort, Eren tries to tackle Bertholdt at the end of the chapter… only to be kicked to the top of the wall.
On the other side of the wall the Beast Titan finally takes part in the action by throwing numerous rocks at the Scouts, killing many of them, all the while referencing Baseball.
While, this was darkly comedic, it is also interesting because it shows that wherever Zeke, the Beast Titan, is from they have baseball.
I wonder if we will get a twist like from The Village where it is modern day outside the walls but I think that would be jumping the shark.
Zeke referencing Baseball was not the only funny moment of the chapter though because Connie seems to become hysterical over how they cannot possibly beat Bertholdt, causing Sasha to slap him.
This is another thing I love about Attack on Titan because it manages to make you feel horrified one moment and laugh the next.
Overall, Chapter 79 was another good chapter that set up the epic next three chapters.

Chapter 80: The Nameless Soldier.

4 and a half stars
The first of the final epic three chapters of Volume 20, “The Nameless Soldier” was a fantastic chapter that really highlighted why I love Erwin so much as a character.
After watching the Clash of the Titans arc, I thought Erwin’s main goal was saving humanity no matter the cost but, with the Uprising Arc and this one, it has quickly become apparent that this is not the case.
Erwin actually does value his own life over others because he wants to see his father’s dream to the end, and all his talk about saving humanity has been him acting as “a conman” as he puts it.
This makes Erwin a much deeper character and when Levi decides to make the decision for Erwin, telling him to go and die for them while promising he will kill the Beast Titan, it was a powerful moment for both of them.
Unfortunately, this does not seemed to have ended well for Erwin because his suicide run ends with him getting hit in the stomach from the Beast Titan’s rocks.
Still, this development saw Erwin put aside his dreams for the good of humanity and was some excellent character development for him.
He also gave what I feel was the best speech of the series so far when he told the recruits it was up to them to give meaning to the deaths of the Scouts who had died before them and it would be up to whoever replaced them to giving meaning to their deaths.
It was also not just through Erwin that we saw the stakes of this fight because Mikasa got badly injured as well when she attempted to use the Thunder Spears on Bertholdt, only for his steam attack to launch them back at her and explode.
“The Nameless Soldier” was a great Attack on Titan chapter where Erwin truly shined with some fantastic development and where the stakes of this battle were truly shown.


Chapter 81: Promise

5 stars
What an amazing chapter this was.
We got the potential death of Erwin, the surprisingly impactful death of Marlo, and the best fight of the entire series so far between Levi and Zeke.
To start off, it looks like Erwin is dead, having been hit through the gut by Zeke’s projectiles.
If he really did die then this was an epic way for him to go out but I do wish we had got some final moments with him.
The death of Marlo also really surprised me this chapter.
Not because he died but because of how impactful I found his death to be.
Marlo is a minor character so I never felt like I would feel emotional at his death, but seeing how he thought of Hitch and sleeping as he rode straight towards his death, only to get cut off as Zeke’s boulder blasted part of his head off was very impactful.
Then we have Zeke himself, who makes an interesting comment this chapter about his father.
I have been spoiled about who Zeke really is but it is interesting to see the groundwork being laid out and I wonder how the reveal will be handled?
After all of this, we not only get the best moment of the chapter but the best fight in the entire manga so far when Levi battles and absolutely destroys Zeke.
This was accompanied by some truly magnificent artwork from Hajime Isayama, who is really improving his style, as we see Levi hack Zeke’s Beast Titan apart in all its gory glory.
It gets even more disgusting when Zeke emerges from the Titan, only to get stabbed through the mouth by Levi.
This was so brutal and I hope it does not get censored in the anime, like some of the violence in the Uprising Arc was.
Unfortunately, before Levi could feed Zeke to someone by using the serum, the goofy Titan Shifter appeared and rescued him.
Then came the moment when Zeke yelled at all of his Titans to, “kill him!”
This sent shivers down my spine, even though I know Levi will probably be fine.
The chapter ends with Armin having regained his confidence as he and Eren prepare to face down Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan in what I knew was going to be an epic fight while Mikasa and the others went to fight Reiner.
Chapter 81, “Promise” was a brilliant chapter full of meaningful and impactful deaths, and had the best fight of the manga so far.
It is the perfect chapter.


Chapter 82: Hero

5 stars
And I thought the last chapter was amazing.
Chapter 82 of Attack on Titan “Hero” is another brilliant chapter in the Shiganshina arc that really got the emotions flowing, featuring what may be another major character death.
The chapter starts off amazing, setting up the stakes by showing what Eren and Armin are fighting for as they are about to battle the Colossal Titan, with Historia, Hitch and Nile being seen elsewhere, showing all of their lives depend of this battle.
What follows are two amazing action sequences between Mikasa and the others scouts against Reiner, and also Eren and Armin against Bertholdt.
I really enjoyed the prelude to these battles as well, with Mikasa not giving in to her desire to help Eren and Armin so she can focus on her mission, showing character development.
Starting with the fight with Reiner, I will say this was a nail biting scene with a lot intensity because even Sasha got injured.
All looked hopeless until thankfully, Hange arrived to save the day, giving Mikasa the chance to finish off Reiner in a scene that felt very reminiscent of when she told Annie to fall.
I am so happy Hange is still alive but Moblit is nowhere in sight.
I hope he is not dead because he is a very likeable side character.
Then we get the fight between Eren, Armin and Bertholdt, which delivered on an emotional level as well as an intense one.
At first it looks like Eren falls of the wall by accident putting him out of commission.
This leads to Armin latching onto Bertholdt’s teeth with his ODM Gear and attempting to
withstand his steam attack, leaving him horrifically burned.
However, this is revealed to be all part of Armin’s brilliant plan because Eren uses this as a distraction to get behind Bertholdt and cut him out of the Colossal Titan, hacking off his limbs.
The chapter ends with him landing on a rooftop with Bertholdt, beside Armin’s burnt body and declaring Armin was always the bravest of them all.
This was an incredibly emotional scene that made me realise what the burned body was on the rooftop in that mid-credits scene of season three episode twelve.
Unfortunately, I have been spoiled about how this ends so I do not know if there will be all that much intensity since I already know what is going to happen, but I am still looking forward to seeing it.
“Hero” was a fantastic way to end Volume 20, delivering another five star chapter that makes me even more excited for what is to come.

A Star is Born: Great Music, Depressing Movie.

4 and a half stars
Musicals are not really my thing usually, but A Star is Born has been getting some great reviews with some calling it one of the best films of the year so I decided to go.
To my surprise I found the film to be more like a romantic drama that just happened to have music in it and, while that is not necessarily my thing either, I had a blast with it.
Directed by and starring Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born follows the relationship between his character, alcoholic country singer Jackson Maine, and Ally, played by Lady Gaga, a struggling singer and song-writer who rises to fame with Jackson’s help.
The film features the incredibly high ups and incredibly low downs of their relationship, with both Cooper and Gaga giving fantastic performances.
Lady Gaga especially surprised me, joining an increasingly long list of singers who can act as well.
I think both of them will be ones to watch out for at the Oscars.
Their music is also just as powerful, with the first song they sing together on stage leaving me grinning from ear to ear.

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The first time Gaga and Cooper sing together is the most inspirational moment of the film. Enjoy it while it lasts though because after this things quickly get super depressing.

However, it is not all smiles though because A Star is Born goes to some very dark places, especially near the end of the film.
This is once again driven home by the knock-out performances of not just Cooper and Gaga but others as well like Sam Elliot, who plays Bobby, the brother and manager of Jackson.
There is so much emotion in this film that it is difficult not to cry at and probably the only reason I successfully managed to avoid this happening to me was because I had been spoiled on what would happen.
So try to go into this film knowing nothing because it will really benefit the experience.
There were a few moments in the film, however, that came across like they were put in just for fan service, rather than trying to say something.
A prime example of this is a brief nude shot of Lady Gaga that felt like an excuse just for her to be naked in a film.
Other than this and a few other scenes though, A Star is Born was a fantastic remake.
I have not seen the film it is based on but I can tell just from watching the film that they knocked it out of the park.

Attack on Titan Live-Action Movie Gets Third Attempt.

It seems only yesterday it was announced that one of my favourite TV shows of all time, Avatar: The Last Airbender, was getting another shot at a live-action adaptation.
Now, my favourite anime, Attack on Titan, created by Hajime Isayama, is also getting the same treatment, with Andy Muschietti directing under Warner Bros.
This is the third time such an attempt will be made as there have already been two live-action adaptations before (three if you count the miniseries but I would rather forget that atrocity).
Both of these adaptations did a very poor job at adapting the anime with terrible acting, baffling story changes and often laughably atrocious special effects.
So, do I think the third time will be the charm and a successful Attack on Titan movie may actually get made?
Well, based on the track record of American live-action adaptations of other anime, you would think not.
Just looking at Dragonball: Evolution should be enough to show why a live-action anime movie should never be attempted.
However, just like with the Avatar: The Last Airbender Netflix adaptation, there are some things that give me hope for this movie.
The most obvious is the director, Andy Muschietti, who directed IT one of my favourite films of 2017.
There, Muschietti showed he was very capable of sticking to and adapting the original source material, while making some necessary changes.
This would point towards him being capable of adapting Attack on Titan, but it is too soon to say whether he will be able to actually do it.
There are also a few things standing in the films way.
First and foremost, the movie’s runtime will obviously constrain the story somewhat, making it only possible to do the Trost arc in the first film.
Then there is actually adapting it, which may prove problematic because of certain elements in the anime.
A prime example of this is the Omni-Directional Mobility Gear, which looked absolutely ridiculous in the Japanese films and, I feel, would be hard to take seriously in live-action, even with a bigger budget.
Speaking of a bigger budget though, this is another thing that may work in the film’s favor.
As I stated, the special effects of the Japanese live-action films were laughable atrocious but a studio like Warner Bros. should have the money to make the Titans look real enough.
Overall, there are both good and bad things to consider about this new Attack on Titan live-action film.
Do I think it will come close to the original anime series even if everything goes right?
No.
Am I excited for it regardless?
Yes.

Halloween Review: Delivers Both Scares and a Confusing Title.

3 and a half stars
Halloween 
is the reboot/sequel to Halloween… man that is confusing.
In all seriousness, this movie probably should have been called something different to avoid confusion with the original film and its remake because now there are three films with the Halloween title.
To avoid this confusion, I will be referring to this film as Halloween 2018 from now on.
Directed by David Gordon Green, Halloween 2018 picks up 40 years after the first one, completely retconning all of its sequels.
Laurie Strode, played once again by Jamie Lee Curtis, is now living in a constant state of paranoia because of the trauma she received at the hands of Michael Myers, which has almost destroyed her relationship with her family.
However, when Michael escapes while being transferred to a different mental hospital, Laurie and her family must band together to stop him.
I have only seen the first two Halloween movies but many of the other sequels do not have good reputations so, even with the positive response the film was getting from fans of the series, I came in with a level of apprehension.
After viewing it I have to say that although I did have some problems with it, Halloween 2018 still manages to be an enjoyable and frightening ride with one hell of a body count.
Seriously, this movie is especially gory, which makes the scenes with Michael as he prepares to kill someone even more chilling.

michael myers.jpg
Michael Myers is once again played by numerous actors, all of whom do a great job of bringing the Shape to life.

Michael is a force to be reckoned with in this movie, truly becoming the Shape and not just a random serial killer seen in other slasher films.
His presence is made even scarier through the film’s amazing soundtrack with both the old music from the original film and new ones sending shivers down your spine.
It also made it surprisingly sad to see some characters bite the dust because, even though most of them fit the typical tropes of the slasher genre. they still had enough nuance for me to care about them.
This was especially apparent with the Strode family, consisting of Laurie’s daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).
All three gave fantastic performances and my favourite moment of the film had to come from Greer in a surprising moment that had me internally cheering.

laurie and karen
The Strode family is one of the highlights of the film, with all three actresses doing a great job.

I also loved the film’s main theme of trauma, with the final shot of Halloween 2018 being especially gripping.
However, there were certain things that held the movie back for me.
Halloween 2018 makes an unusual change in the series by incorporating comedy into some sections.
But, for me, this comedy never landed and always felt out of place.
Some of the characters did not work for me either.
First there was Karen’s husband and Allyson’s father Ray (Toby Huss) who has almost no point in the movie.
Then there was the plot point concerning Michael’s new doctor Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), which I felt was unnecessary in the grand scheme of things and very off-putting.
These problems aside though, Halloween 2018 is still a good time if you are looking to get scared.
Some great character moments from the Strode family and Michael Myers himself are the main highlights.