The Promised Neverland Season Two Episode Two Review: The Truth of This World.

4 stars
After a great start to the second season of The Promised Neverland, episode two continues the quality of the last, delivering plenty of new information for the story, and formally introducing two new and interesting characters. 
These two characters are Mujika (Atsumi Tanezaki) and Sonju (Shin’ichirō Kamio), two demons who, mysteriously, do not want to eat Emma, Ray and the other Grace Field children. 
Directed by Ayako Kurata, the episode follows the kids getting to know these two demons, their way of life, and eventually learning the truth of their world, or rather worlds. 
I say worlds because Sonju reveals later on in the episode that the demon and human worlds are split because of a 1000 year old promise.
Humans and demons had been in constant state of war before this, and the promise not only separated their worlds but allowed peace between them, at the cost of many sacrifices because those humans who were left behind are now breed, butchered and fed to the demons as livestock, in various farms.
This is a startling revelation that makes Emma and Ray cheer for joy, much to Sonju’s, and I’m sure the audience’s, shock. 
The reason for their excitement is because, even though they are in a terrible situation, Emma and Ray now know that there is a place for them in the human world, they just have to get there. 
Although, this will obviously be a tough ordeal because, as Sonju and Mujika point out, they are an exception, not eating the children for religious reasons, and most demons who gladly gobble up the Grace Field kids.   
Along with this dark piece of information, however, there is also humor, with a scene of Gilda comedically coming at Emma with a fire in her eyes, demanding that she not push herself until she faints again. 
This humorous confrontation then transfers to Ray, who is told by the younger children that he keeps trying to die, not helped by Sonju comedically cutting in to say that Ray definitely would have died if he hadn’t saved him. 
Sadly, the entire episode can’t all be jokes because we have to get into the depressing stuff again, as Emma loses another piece of her innocence, when she asks to go hunting with Sonju. 
Emma manages to kill a bird for food, with Sonju’s guidance, and I absolutely love how this scene  was framed to mirror Conny’s death from the very first episode, with the falling water droplet. 
Even more of a parallel is when Sonju has Emma perform the act of Gupna on the bird, draining its blood with the vampiric plant Vina, again, just like Conny. 
This tragic scene is immediately followed by the cliffhanger of the episode, as Emma’s face is revealed, looking extremely depressed, despite her claims that she is fine, showing how she has lost more of her innocence. 
Given how long of a journey she and the Grace Field children have, if they are to ever reach the safety of the human world, it is very likely she will lose more of it. 
All in all, episode two is another enjoyable episode of The Promised Neverland  season two, and it will be interesting to see if this quality can be maintained, or even grow, as we get closer to my favorite arc of the story. 

Cyberpunk 2077 Review: A Fun, Buggy, Hot Mess.

3 and a half stars
I remember the first time I saw the 48 minute gameplay reveal for Cyberpunk 2077.
It blew my socks off with its quality and I became incredibly excited for its release.
Years passed and each tease got me more and more excited, especially the reveal that Keanu Reeves would play a big part in the game’s story, playing Johnny Silverhand.
My hype for the game was to the point that I was almost as excited for it as I was for The Last of Us Part 2.
However, going in, I knew I had to temper my expectations because it had been hyped up to levels I was sure even it could not surpass.
Yet, I was still confident that CD PROJEKT RED would deliver a complete and finished product.
Then, news came out that they were restricting those who reviewed the PC version, so they could only use footage from the trailers.
Even more suspicious was them completely banning any reviews for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox versions.
At the time, I reasoned that they were just trying to hide the bugs that would be fixed with the day one patch and the game would run fine on my PlayStation 4.
Oh, how wrong I was.
I’m not saying anything new by going over how incredibly buggy the console versions were upon release and, honestly, still are.
I just completed my first playthrough of the game and lost count of how many bugs I encountered.
My game crashed a total of five times, seven if you count the two times I had to quit because a bug made it literally unplayable.
There were a litany of other glitches I experienced, like characters speeding up like they were the flash, the frame rate dropping when driving, characters calling me in the middle of a mission when I’m already talking to another character.

This is an example of one of the many, many, many bugs that can be found in the game that someone found.

Not only this but Cyberpunk 2077 is also lacking features that have been in open world games for almost two decades.
The most prominent example of this is the police system, which is 100% broken, as police officers spawn right in front of you and give up chasing you after you get a block away from them.
Driving is also a pain because of how difficult cars are to drive, the already stated low frame rate, and the mini map being way too small.
At least I found driving around on motorcycles to be pretty fun.
However, despite all of these numerous problems, I still found myself having fun with Cyberpunk 2077.
Yes, it definitely should not have been released in this state, but I still found myself enjoying the story, its characters, and gameplay.
You play as V (Gavin Drea for male, and Cherami Leigh for female), a mercenary living in the dystopian Night City, who is hired to steal a biochip from a corpo.
Of course, this heist goes completely wrong and V has to place the biochip in their head to save it.
Unfortunately, after a near death experience, the biochip begins to kill V and replace them with the digitized soul of Johnny Silverhand. 

Keanu Reeves does a great job as Silverhand, although I do find it a bit hard to imagine him as a rockstar with his voice.

And so, V and Johnny have to work together to find a way to remove the biochip, without killing V, encountering a large cast of colorful characters along the way.
Takemura (Rome Kanda), Judy (Karla Tassara), Panam (Emily Woo Zeller), River (Robbie Daymond), Kerry (Mathew Yang King), Jackie (Jason Hightower), I came to care about so many of these great characters, to the point that, when one of them died in a mission, I actually looked up how to save them, then went back and did just that because I liked them so much.
The growing bond between V and Johnny is also great to see, as it grows across the game and Johnny continuously gives you advice on what to do in many compelling missions.
Of these numerous fun quests, I would have to say that my favorite is actually a side quest called Sinnerman.
The opening to that mission is just so intriguing and, as it goes on, it raises some really interesting moral questions about belief, forgiveness and corporate exploitation.
Along with the great quests, there are also some intense gameplay mechanics, with different play styles offered to the different builds you use.
I focused on my stealth and turned my V into a Cyberpunk ninja, occasionally using Mantis Blades to slice up my enemies.
This action went along great with the score, which is absolutely phenomenal in every way.
I can easily see myself listening to this game’s music for years to come.
These great elements of story, character and gameplay combine into the endings, of which there are numerous.
Unfortunately, these endings are mostly based on what you choose right at the end rather than across the game, but they all offer different perspectives for the story, and different conclusions for each of the characters, delivering a satisfying experience.

How the game ends, and who stays in control of V’s body by the end, is entirely up to the player’s actions.

It’s just a shame that this satisfaction is watered down by the extremely buggy nature of the game, and the shady business practices that went towards hiding this from players.
I may have not enjoyed The Last of Us Part 2’s story to the point that it made me personally find playing it to be a negative experience, but at least Naughty Dog didn’t screw with players by releasing a buggy mess.
Once again, I know I’m not the only person pointing out the hypocrisy of a game preaching against corporations when said game falls victim to corporate greed, but it’s still quite depressing.
Cyberpunk 2077 could have been one of the best games of 2020 that delivered a worthwhile experience, even if it could never live up to all the hype.
Instead, it will most likely be remembered for its buggy launch and practicing the very corporate actions it speaks against.
Still a fun game overall but one with a corporate shadow leaning over it. 

Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Five, Declaration of War Review: The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For.

5 stars
Chapter 100, “Declaration of War.”
Pretty much every Attack on Titan fan who has read the manga can easily recall this chapter.
I can still remember sitting in stunned silence after reading it because of what had just occurred.
So, needless to say, I was extremely excited to see one of my favorite chapters adapted in the anime.
Well, having seen it, I can say that Mappa and director Teruyuki Ōmine definitely pulled it off, providing a nail biting delivery for “Declaration of War.”
The episode starts off with a flashback to Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie’s time in the scouts, as was seen in Episode Three.
This time, we have a scene of Bertholdt wondering why the man who hung himself in the settlement chose to tell them his story before he did so,  believing it was because he wanted to be judged.
At this point, the scene perfectly transitions to Reiner about to be judged by Eren, as they meet for the first time in four years.
Falco, the sweet boy, has absolutely no idea about the absolute disaster he has unintentionally caused, completely unaware as Eren subtly threatens all the people in the building above them by showing his cut hand, threatening to transform if Reiner tries anything.
From here, we see the build up to Willy’s declaration, as he is visited by the mysterious Kiyomi Azumabito from last episode, who seems to know something, given that she leaves before the festival.
Another interesting scene is between Karina and Annie’s father, where Mr Leonhart insists that his daughter is still alive, which is basically just Isayama’s way of saying, yes, Annie’s in the story, even if she’s not important right now.
The final build up scene before the performance sees Zeke, Pieck and Porco being lured away by a mysterious guard who then traps Pieck and Porco in a hole to prevent them from transforming and trying to stop whatever is about to happen.
As a manga reader, it’s been pretty fun to see fan theories about who the mysterious soldier is.
I’ve heard theories about it being Jean, Connie, and, most often, Armin who has had an extreme growth spurt.
In any case, this trapping scene is very well done, building the tension up nicely, and even providing some humor when Pieck’s panzer unit get jealous over Pieck hugging only one of them.
With the threat of enemy Titan Shifters removed, Eren can now confront Reiner in temporary peace and Willy can begin his last speech.
Down in the basement, Reiner asks Eren why he came here and Eren chillingly replies “the same reason you did” and follows this up by telling Reiner multiple times that he is “the same as you.”
This shows just how much Eren has grown over the four year time skip, going from hot headed to calm, collective, and even reflective over his situation.
He is clearly not the same arrogant character who I couldn’t stand all the way back in season one, and Yuki Kaji does a fantastic job voicing this calmer version of Eren.
Another voice actor who deserves praise for their work this episode is Kazuhiko Inoue, who does a fantastic job with delivering Willy’s lines, during his epic speech.
This voice acting, accompanying the gruesome imagery of the performance, makes for a great use of exposition that keeps the viewer engaged while being fed information.
The information Willy conveys is that the Marleyan version of history is a lie (big shock), and that The Great Titan War was actually ended by King Fritz, who conspired with the Tyber family to make a Marleyan, Helos, a hero, and then fled to Paradis Island out of guilt for what his people had done.
Willy revealing this shows how masterfully he can manipulate a crowd because first he reveals the truth, before redirecting the crowd’s anger at a new threat, Eren Jaeger.
Speaking of, Eren knows full well how much of a threat he is, admitting that he might just end up destroying the world, like Willy fears, because of the millions of Colossal Titans in the walls, which he could potentially control.
Falco is horrified that someone he trusted would use him and becomes even more terrified when he realizes the letters Eren had him send were to his “comrades.”
For now though, Eren’s attention is entirely on Reiner as he proceeds to judge him just like the opening of the episode suggested that he would.
However, this judgement is not what we might expect.
Instead of condemning Reiner, like he did in earlier seasons, Eren is shown to have become more understanding of him, as showcased by Eren telling Reiner to forget his promise to make Reiner suffer, admitting that there is good and bad people on both sides of the conflict.
This is followed by the moment that breaks Reiner completely, Eren telling him that he did what he did because he was a brainwashed kid.
Reiner refutes this entirely, falling to his knees and tearfully admitting that he pushed on with the mission to attack Paradis because he wanted to be a hero and he is to blame for Eren’s mother’s death.
Reiner’s voice actor, Yoshimasa Hosaya, did such a great job with Reiner’s tearful repentance that it almost made me cry.
Reiner’s pleas for death are then juxtaposed by Willy saying he doesn’t want to die because “he was born into this world,” and this very line that Eren’s mother spoke years ago finally draws Eren’s attention away from Reiner, as shown by the subtle widening of his eyes.
Maybe Eren is experiencing some hope that he will not have to go through with his plan?
Unfortunately, any hope Eren might have for peace is shattered because Willy follows this up by proclaiming he wants everyone to help him fight the devils of Paradis.
Accepting what he must do and that he really is the same as Reiner, Eren pulls Reiner to his feet, as we get some anime original content of soldiers approaching the basement door, ready to attack Eren.
One might think upon hearing about this scene that it is a pointless attempt at diminishing Eren’s responsibility for what comes next but, thankfully, it comes across more as a way to build tension, rather than try to justify Eren’s horrific act of violence.
And horrific it is, as Eren transforms then and there, killing who knows how many civilians and even Willy Tyber himself, crushing him with massive his fist, before throwing him in the air to be devoured, like a piece of popcorn.
This scene is just fantastic with a great use of sound and music.
That said, some manga readers took issue with the OST in this scene, 2Volt.
Some took such a disliking to this OST usage that they even harassed director Teruyuki Ōmine over it, to the point that he felt depressed.
Critique a scene all you want but if you harass the people behind that scene, you’ve gone way too far.
Personally, I feel that the music worked great and the people who dislike the scene may have had their own preconceived ideas on how the it would go, making them be inevitably disappointed when it didn’t suit their envisioned scene.
Still, even though I thought this final scene was great, there is one issue I have with the episode but it is one I am not ready to deduct points for just yet.
This issue is that there is a cut scene between Willy and Magath that is crucial to understanding both their characters’ motivations.
There is a possibility that this scene could have been moved to episode six, so if we see the scene there then this won’t be an issue, however, if it’s not there, then I think we are missing some crucial development for both these characters.
Like I said though, I am not going to be deducting any points from the episode because there is always the chance of this scene appearing in the future.
Overall, “Declaration of War” is a fantastic adaptation of one of the manga’s best chapters, delivering the point of no return for Eren brilliantly.

Attack on Titan Chapter 136, Devote Your Hearts Review: Jet Pack Pieck!

4 and a half stars
Three more chapters.
That is how long we have before my favorite story comes to an end, at Chapter 139.
It is also a fitting number to conclude Attack on Titan at because of the significance of the numbers 13 and 9 in the series.
For now though, we have Chapter 136, “Devote Your Hearts”, another banger that adds more tension and excitement to the final battle between the Alliance and Eren.
Coming into this battle, I was expecting a lot of character deaths but, once again, no one died in this chapter.
I remember saying in my predictions post for Chapter 137 that I was pretty certain Pieck was going to die because of her predicament at the end of “Battle of Heaven and Earth.”
Well, much like Jean’s fear for Pieck, I was proved “dead wrong” because Pieck not only survived but was also the best character in this chapter, by far.
In what is probably her most epic scene in the entire manga, Pieck runs along the trident of the Warhammer Titan, transforms and kills it, and then transforms multiple times while shooting herself out of her previous Titan forms, as if she was wearing a jet pack!
It is an incredibly epic fight scene and her banter with Jean is quite funny, as she gives this whole speech about him not needing to worry about her and to continue with the mission, only to turn around and see that he is already doing just that, causing her to give a disappointed, “oh.”
However, while this is an epic and funny scene that made me glad Pieck was safe, there were other scenes that raised death flags for characters.
One of these was Reiner when he brings up Falco’s promise to him to protect Gabi “from the dark, dark future we face”, which makes it seem like he is preparing for a heroic sacrifice.
I was wrong about Pieck though so, hopefully, I have been reading too much into this potential death flag.
In any case, Reiner is helping Jean and Pieck by holding off the Warhammer Titans so I wonder which of them will be the one to detonate the explosives on Eren’s nape?
This plan to blow up the nape was devised on Falco’s flying Titan, and it is also here that the second part of the plan was formulated, that Mikasa, Annie and Connie would go to rescue Armin from the Okapi Titan, which holds him captive in a hentai nightmare.
Jokes aside, this is a very emotional scene, as the Alliance finally admits they can no longer hold back on Eren, with both Levi and Connie pointing out that it is too dangerous to do so.
Yet, it is Jean who tragically has to break the news to Mikasa that they have to kill Eren, if they want to stop him.
The look on Mikasa’s face after this moment is just beautifully drawn by Hajime Isayama.
Along with this scene being a potential death flag for Eren, with Mikasa maybe being the one to put him down, there are two other hints towards parts of the ending in this opening part of the chapter.
The first of these is pretty minor and that is the survival of Kiyomi and Yelena.
This chapter confirms that they stayed behind in life boats after Falco’s transformation caused their ship to capsize and did not go with them to the final battle, which pretty much guarantees that they will survive the story.
A much bigger hint at the ending comes from Gabi, when she mentions the shining centipede, or, as Kruger previously called it, “the source of all living matter”, which emerged from Eren’s head when Gabi decapitated him.
Gabi says that if they can decapitate him again, they might just see this source again, which basically confirms its importance in stopping Eren.
Once this talk is done, the initiation of the plan begins, with Jean and Reiner going to help Pieck (not that she needs help, as I’ve said) and detonate the explosives, and with Annie, Connie and Mikasa going to save Armin, leading to more intense action sequences.
This is especially the case between Mikasa and Annie, as Annie uses Mikasa’s ODM Gear to throw her towards the Okapi Titan that has Armin.
Although exciting, this big action moment unfortunately fails, with the Okapi Titan now heading for Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan, which is being controlled by Ymir.
This brings us into the final part of the chapter, where we see Armin, who is thankfully not fully experiencing the Okapi’s tongue attack anymore.
Armin is now facing his unconscious body and yells and it that he hates himself and that his body has always betrayed him.
Just like Mikasa shouting that she is strong in Chapter 135, this scene of Armin perfectly reflects his character growth since the Trost Arc.
Where Armin slowly began to grow confidence in his own strength from that arc onwards, this final arc has been slowly diminishing that to the point that Armin is now at his breaking point.
However, at his lowest moment, who is the perfect character for him to meet?
Why, Zeke, of course!
That’s right, the monkey is finally back, and Armin has made contact with him after realizing he is not dying but in the Paths.
Their interaction is brief, with the chapter ending abruptly just as it begins, but it does raise a very interesting question.
Zeke asks Armin if Ymir ate him too, which makes me wonder if Zeke was eaten when Eren transformed, only since his mind was in the Paths when it happened, he is now trapped there.
Whether Zeke is truly alive or not, though, I am very excited to see how he and Armin will work together since the two have never even talked to one another before.
Both are at their lowest points in the series and they may just need each other to climb out of the dark pits of self doubt that they have found themselves in.
And, hey, with Zeke back, this means Levi can have his final confrontation with him that has been built up forever.
However, it is pretty clear from the way Isayama shows Levi thinking about this in the chapter that it may not be as simple as we think.
Levi notes how the one order he has not been able to follow from Erwin is to kill Zeke.
He also mentions how he doesn’t regret saving Armin over Erwin and even seems to be on the verge of tears when remembering his dead comrades, Erwin and Hange among them.
It is also this scene that the title of the chapter, “Devote Your Hearts” seems to come from, as Levi thinks of how if the Scouts didn’t dream of “an absurdly innocent and idealized world” then “it won’t have been worth what they devoted.”
As the story has been drawing to a close, more and more chapters have been given names that have significance to the story, first “Wings of Freedom” and now “Devote Your Hearts.”
Back to the actual chapter, it’s time to talk about my one criticism, which is the confrontation between the Eldians from Liberio and the Marleyan soldiers.
The Eldians approach the soldiers, leading to the two sides pointing guns at one another because, of course, the Marleyans just can’t stop being racist even though it’s the freaking apocalypse.
Annie’s father tries to cool the tension but it just doesn’t work, until the leader of the soldiers, Secretary Muller, arrives with his gun at the ready.
The chapter then cuts to the Alliance on Falco’s back, hearing the gunshots, the implication being that both sides started shooting at each other.
Only, I am pretty sure this is not what happened.
There’s no way that Muller, the guy who was just saying that he wanted to abandon hatred two chapters ago, is just going to give into that hatred again.
No, most likely the shots fired were Muller getting everyone’s attention to stand down.
It just feels pretty predictable, so I don’t see why Isayama had to give us a fake out.
Although I could be completely wrong about this and, if something else happens and it makes perfect sense, I’ll be sure to correct this criticism.
All in all, though, Chapter 136, “Devote Your Hearts”, is another fantastic Attack on Titan chapter that feels like it is setting up the last three nicely.
It does end a bit abruptly but so did Chapter 120 and that was followed up by my two favorite chapters of the story so far, so let’s hope that this abrupt ending points to a similar trend, with incredible chapters to come.

The Promised Neverland, Season Two, Episode One Review: A Beautiful Yet Cruel Freedom.

4 stars
The Promised Neverland 
is finally back.
I was already excited enough with Attack on Titan‘s final season airing but, with the second season of the adaptation of Kaiu Shiari’s great manga airing at the same time, and possibly being about to adapt my favorite arc in the manga, I might just collapse from overexcitement.
I started watching The Promised Neverland about four episodes into its first season and was immediately hooked to the point that, when I learned that the Covid-19 Pandemic had delayed season two, I read the manga.
Well, after the wait we finally have the first episode of that second season, which puts the follow up off to a promising start.
Directed by Takahiro Harada, the episode picks up after Emma (Sumire Morohoshi), Ray (Mariya Ise), Don (Shinei Ueki), Gilda (Lynn), and many other children escaped from the Grace Field House, where they had been unknowingly raised as demon food by their “mother”, Isabella.
Now free, but without their good friend Norman, who was shipped out, and the young Phil, who stayed to look out for the other younger children, Emma and the others are free to explore the outside world.
However, as Emma points out in the opening scene with her inner monologue, “freedom is so beautiful… Yet so cruel.”
This line, while sounding very similar to something Eren Jaeger would say in Attack on Titan, is a great way to kick off the episode, as it is revealed that the children are being chased by a giant demonic lizard.
The outside world is clearly just as dangerous for the children as it was at the Grace Field House, with another kind of predator pursuing them.
However, there is also the kind from season one hunting them down as well because the demons are back, angered by the children’s escape.
Before we get to these pursuits though, the episode cuts to before all this, when the children had time to get their bearings.
We have a cool discussion between Emma and Ray where it is shown just how much Ray has grown from his suicide attempt in season one, now being dedicated to protecting his family and survive with them.
Emma and the gang also come up with a plan, using the equipment gifted to them by William Minerva to locate him.
This equipment includes a pen given by Sister Krone to Norman, who then gave it to them, and a book that shows them how to survive in the outside world.
The book is an interesting thing about the episode because it is here where a lot of content from the manga was cut.
In the original story, there was quite a long scene where Emma and the others got trapped in a giant man-eating plant, which they escaped with help from William Minerva’s book, proving its usefulness in escaping danger.
This is changed in the episode to them learning this through just finding out where to get water with help from the book.
Now, usually I’d be against such a large scene being cut from an adaptation.
You only need to look at my review for episode three of Attack on Titan‘s final season to know that I mostly disapprove of large from the source material.
However, surprisingly, I actually don’t have an issue with the cuts in this episode because the scenes that were left out do not contribute that much to the overall story.
The big scene that is cut is basically just a long side quest that proves one piece of information that was simplified quite well in the episode.
Some fans are concerned that these cuts mean that the season will be rushed, with many important scenes removed but I really don’t think that, at least not yet.
Sure, there were a lot of cuts but, as I said, these cuts were made to simplify scenes that were really not that important to the story or character arcs in the manga, so I can see the important scenes being left mostly intact.
This includes the scenes with the two demon characters who rescue the children from their demon pursuers at the end of the episode, after Emma collapses and Ray is almost captured.
I really like these demon characters in the manga and I can’t wait to see how the adaptation will handle their role.
In any case, the ED seems to suggest they will have a bigger role at this point in the story than they did in the manga, with some great symbolism, like the female demon’s shadow looking eerily familiar to a cross.
The OP, “Identity” by Kiiro Akiyama, is also really good with a lot of great visuals to get you excited for what’s to come.
And, with the cliffhanger of the demons having saved the children, raising questions about why demons are helping their supposed food in the first place, a question Ray asks, there is certainly a lot to be excited about.

Attack on Titan Season Four Episode Four, From One Hand to Another Review: Calm Before the Storm.

4 and a half stars
Even though I liked Episode Three of Attack on Titan’s Final Season, “The Door of Hope”, the one issue I had with it was the cutting of some pretty great scenes from the manga, like Reiner’s struggles in the beginning, Annie’s role in destroying the wall, and Reiner deciding to infiltrate the military.
However, cut content is certainly not a problem I have with Episode Four, “From One Hand to Another”, which adapts the manga chapters it covers amazingly.
Directed by Tetsuaki Matsuda, it even adds in scenes from previous chapters that we thought weren’t going to be adapted, like Pieck’s crawling gag, a scene that was memed to death by the fandom, after its absence in Episode Two.   
This joke came after the opening, which followed the cliffhanger from the previous chapter, where Eren Jaeger himself was revealed to have infuriated Marley, disguised as a traumatized soldier and fittingly using the alias of Kruger. 
It is in this opening scene that Eren begins his manipulation of the good natured Falco, having him deliver letters to his “family.”
Following this sinister moment, the rest of “From One Hand to Another” definitely gives off a calm before the storm vibe, with the build up to Willy Tybur’s speech at the festival. 
Speaking of, we finally got to meet the Tybur’s, the family who holds the War Hammer Titan. 
The head of the family, Willy, is certainly an interesting character because, despite being an Eldian himself, he is the secret leader of Marley, who is widely respected by the world’s other leaders. 
It creates a striking juxtaposition when, at a dinner party, Willy is treated with respect, while Udo, a fellow Eldian, is treated like trash by almost all of the world’s leaders.
Willy’s introduction also sets Magath on the path towards being an interesting character, since it is revealed he is trying to get Marleyans to realize the errors of their ways, in being a warmongering nation, by forcing conscription to show them the true horrors of war, which the Eldians they force to fight for them experience.
Magath and Willy seem to have come to accord to save Marley, as Willy talks of how Marley is in need of a new hero, like the mysterious Helos. 
Another scene also highlights this need because, while speaking to Wily in code, Magath reveals that their “house” has already been infiltrated by “rats.” 
And, poetically, the scene then cuts to said infiltrator, Eren, who thanks Falco for sending his letters and now has a baseball from his “family.” 
Eren even talks about how he needs to go back to his “hometown.”
Oh, the irony. 
However, their conversation is interrupted by an approaching doctor who is revealed to be Eren’s grandfather. 
Dr Jaeger talks with Eren, unaware that he is his grandson, telling him to stop having Falco run errands for him because, if the Marleyans suspect something, Falco and his family could be punished. 
Eren retorts by bringing up the regrets Dr Jaeger must have, already knowing those regrets full well from Grisha’s memories. 
This causes Dr Jaeger to have a complete mental breakdown in a creepy moment that reveals he is not a doctor at this hospital but a patient, having broken down from the pain of losing his children, which he believes to be entirely his fault.   
As the real doctors lead a traumatized Jaeger away, Eren turns to the baseball and tosses it into the air. 
After this strange moment, we get the dinner party scene where, as I mentioned, Udo is looked down upon because of his Eldian blood. 
However, what I didn’t mention earlier is that there is at least one person who looks out for him, a mysterious, older Asian woman, who Gabi says is from the nation of Hizuru. 
Once the party scene has concluded, we then get our final calm before the storm moment, as Gabi and the other warrior candidates enjoy the wonders of the festival. 
This resulted in quite a few hilarious moments, primarily thanks to Gabi’s voice actress Ayane Sakura who, I have to say once again, was the best possible choice for Gabi. 
Her delivery is completely on point, much like Yuki Kaji’s somber Eren voice, which will make it interesting to see how Bryce Papenbrook follows him up in the English Dub.
Back to the festival scene, we get another funny moment with Reiner.
The man has been abused physically and emotionally and now the time has come for him to be abused financially, as his wallet is all used to pay for the kids’ food. 
This does make Reiner smile towards the end though so his financial pain is worth it. 
What also makes it worth it is Pieck and Porco being present in this scene, as they were not there to enjoy the food in the manga. 
Their scenes with the kids help make the two more relatable, especially Porco who, in the manga, is just a massive jerk. 
Seeing him encourage the kids in Episode Two, and now enjoy the festival in Episode Four, really makes me like him more than in the manga, by this point. 
It’s not all happiness though because Gabi just had to jinx it by hopefully stating that it felt like things were going to change, before the credits rolled.
Well, yes, Gabi, things are going to change, just not for the better as you had hoped. 
No, the end credits scene crushes these hopes because Falco is manipulated into bringing Reiner down into a basement for another confrontation with Eren, four years after their last meeting. 
With that, the episode left us off on a two week break until the epic episode that will be “Declaration of War.”
Still, I’m sure that the wait will be worth it and I am glad the animators got a small break because I’ve heard making the final season has been absolute hell for them.  
Fingers crossed that they can perfectly adapt “Declaration of War”, one of the best chapters of the manga and, potentially, one of the best episodes of the anime, if done right. 
Episode Five cannot come sooner. 

Akudama Drive Review: You Done Good Studio Pierrot.

4 and a half stars
If I’m honest, before watching
Akudama Drive, I didn’t have the best opinion of Studio Pierrot.
I only knew of them through watching their adaptation of Tokyo Ghoul, which, if you’ve seen my review of each season, you’ll know I thought was atrociously adapted in the last few seasons.
However, now having watched Akudama Drive based off recommendations, I can say that I need to give this studio more credit because, while they have made mistakes in the past, as seen with Tokyo Ghoul, they can make truly fantastic work.
Akudama Drive is one such anime, with its fast-paced, energetic action and great cast of characters. 

All of the main characters in Akudama Drive are memorable and a lot of fun.

Directed by Tomohisa Taguchi, Akudama Drive is set in a Cyberpunk Japan where the Kansai Region has been taken over by the Kantō region, and high ranking criminals, known as Akudamas, are hunted by Executioners.
Our main character is an Ordinary Person (Tomoyo Kurosawa) who, due to a set of extreme situations, has to become the Swindler and join a powerful group of Akudama, who are then hired to rob the deified Shinkansen.
Although, some backstory was sorely needed for many of these Akudama, I came to like, or love to hate in some instances, all of them.
There’s the always business focused Courier (Yūichirō Umehara), the fighting obsessed Brawler (Shunsuke Takeuchi), the big-talk, suck up Hoodlum (Sabaru Kimaru), the power hungry Doctor (Megumi Ogata), the psychopathic Cutthroat (Takahiro Sakurai), and the technologically genius Hacker (Shun Horie).
Out of all of these Akudama, I would say that my favourites of the bunch are Swindler, Courier, and Hoodlum.
Swinder and Hoodlum were both characters with fantastic character development that really made me care for them and their arcs.

Watching Swindler and Hoodlum go from newbie Akudamas to big time criminals was a blast to watch.

Courier was more of an interesting case because I was mainly indifferent to him for most of the anime, until the last three or four episodes really got me on board with his character.
It’s not just the Akudama that are great characters, though, because the Executioners are also a lot of fun, with Master (Akio Ōtsuka) and Pupil (Yumiri Hanamori) being standouts.
However, this is where my one big criticism of the show comes into play.
All of the Akudama are given fantastic endings to their character arcs, however, many of the Executioners get no ending at all.
It honestly feels like they had something big planned for some of their characters but it got cut for time in the final episode.
Now, it was recently revealed that five minutes of cut footage from the final episode would appear in the Blu-ray so hopefully this footage is the missing conclusion to many of the Executioner’s arcs. 

Even if their story isn’t concluded well though, I still found the Executioners’ role in the story fitting.

It would also be nice if a lot of the gore could be uncensored in the Blu-ray because the censorship did get a bit distracting, especially in Episode Nine.
Although, this censorship thankfully didn’t stop the action from being adrenaline pumping with a lot of hype moments, helped by excellent animation, especially in the first few episodes and the last one.
The score also helped these scenes, with it being fun to listen to. 
This also extends to the OP and ED, with the OP, STEAL! by SPARK!!SOUND!!SHOW!!, being an absolute banger that I have listened to for days on end on Spotify.  
Overall, Akudama Drive is a fantastic anime that mixes cyberpunk with anime incredibly well.
Some characters may be missing conclusions to their arcs but, if this is fixed in the Blu-ray, then this could be an all time great anime. 

Attack on Titan Chapter 136 Predictions.

We’re at the home stretch.
Recently it was confirmed that Attack on Titan is in its final volume, which will be released in either May or June.
This means the story will end on either Chapter 138 or 139, so three or four chapters left.
With the end now in sight, we are probably going to get some big reveals and character deaths soon, most likely starting with the upcoming Chapter 136.
It’s just a matter of how how Hajime Isayama will surprise us with the next twist in the story, and I think it may have something to do with a certain scene that was added to the premiere of the anime’s final season.

What Does Falco’s Dream in Season Four Episode One Mean?

The first episode of Attack on Titan‘s final season was fantastic and one of the best things about it were all of the little scenes added in by Mappa, creating a new experience for Manga readers like me. 
One of these new additions was a brief piece of dialogue that had my jaw on the floor as I considered its implications. 
When Falco is recovering from his probable concussion, he tells Gabi, Udo and Zofia that he dreamed he was flying around with swords, fighting Titans. 
Now, this could be foreshadowing for him eventually using his Jaw Titan to fly but the one thing that doesn’t make sense is Falco having swords. 
This makes it much more likely that he is experiencing a Scout’s memories. 
It could be Freckled Ymir’s, since Falco gains her Jaw Titan but wouldn’t Falco only be able to access those after he gained the Titan? 
In fact, the only Titan Shifter that we know of that can access memories throughout space and time is the Attack Titan, which is currently in possession of Eren. 
So, could this mean that Falco will eat Eren at the end, becoming the next Attack Titan? 
This theory could also be supported by Eren having a memory shard of Falco in Chapter 130, which was long before they meet. 
Although, many people online who have heard this theory seem to dislike it so, if it does happen, it will be interesting to see how it is received. 
Personally, I’m not sure how I would feel about it.
Guess I’ll just have to wait to see how Isayama writes it, if this is indeed what he is foreshadowing with this added anime scene.  

What Will Happen to Armin and Pieck?

Back to the manga, Chapter 135 saw Armin and Pieck being left behind on Eren’s gigantic Titan form, with the both of them in life threatening situations. 
Sadly, I think this may be the end for best girl Pieck. 
She is one of the few characters who doesn’t really have an arc or a connection to many of the main characters so her death feels pretty likely. 
I will honestly be surprised if she somehow makes it out of the next chapter alive, the happy kind of surprised that is. 
As for Armin, I am much more convinced that he will survive the hentai situation he has found himself in.
I stated in my previous predictions post, where I outlined my thoughts on who among all of the important characters left in the story would die, that I thought Armin would live.
He’s the narrator of the story, and I think there may be a simple way for him to transform into his Colossal Titan to escape. 
This simple way being Annie’s ring. 
Some have speculated that, after their romantic talk in Chapter 131, Annie gave Armin her ring to protect him. 
So, with his mouth now covered by the hentai Titan to prevent him transforming, Armin could use Annie’s ring to cut his finger and transform. 
There are also two interesting things Armin could do, both having to do with dialogue. 
The first is try to talk to Bertholdt, but I don’t know if Bertholdt could really say anything back since his soul looks like it is being controlled by Ymir. 
Speaking of, Ymir is the other character Armin could try talking to. 
She is the one allowing Eren to continue the Rumbling so, if Armin can convince her to stop, then the battle will be won. 
Of course, if the talk no jutsu fails, then Armin may have to go to their last resort of stopping Eren, potentially killing him. 
This is where the explosives come in.  

Chekov’s Explosives: Who Detonates Them?

Before being impaled by the Warhammer Titan in “Battle of Heaven and Earth,” Pieck barely managed to wrap the explosives taken from the Jaegerists around the neck of Eren’s Titan form.
There is a panel of the detonator after Pieck is stabbed, so it is likely going to be important in the next chapter, just like how the anti-Titan gun Colt showed off in Chapter 118 was foreshadowing of Gabi using it to decapitate Eren in Chapter 119. 
So, the question is, who detonates these explosives to try and stop Eren? 
Well, my money is on Pieck, yet again.
She is the one who is closest and I think this could be how she ends up dying, sacrificing herself to try and stop Eren. 
Even if Pieck isn’t the one who detonates the explosives, I see her playing a role in it. 
Since Gabi is probably the only character left with a well established connection to Pieck, and she’s a great shot, maybe Pieck will hold up the explosives for Gabi to shoot. 
Whatever happens to Pieck, and whoever detonates the explosives, I highly doubt this will kill Eren. 
The guy’s too smart to just hide out in his nape. 
He is most likely elsewhere, hiding using the power of the Warhammer Titan, along with Zeke. 
So, if Pieck does die detonating the explosives, it could tragically be all for nothing.  
And she’s not the only character in danger next chapter. 

What can Levi do at This Point?

Levi has been through hell and back this arc, both physically and emotionally. 
Not only has he lost his last remaining friend from the old Scouts, Hange, but Zeke exploding the Thunder Spear has left him extremely wounded. 
His situation was worsened in Chapter 135, when his leg was bitten by a Titan while he was trying to save Connie, most likely breaking it. 
Not only this but Levi is likely bleeding internally, as evidenced by him coughing up blood shortly before getting his leg bitten.
Levi is pretty much in so shape to fight now. 
I know he’s a super soldier but the guy’s a mess. 
Any more fighting from him is most likely going to result in his death at this point. 
At least we know he won’t die until he has his final confrontation with Zeke. 
After that, all bets are off.  

Where are Kiyomi and Yelena?

Unlike Pieck and Levi, I don’t expect Kiyomi and Yelena to die at all. 
The two of them were not on Falco’s back with Annie and Gabi at the end of the previous chapter, so this means that they likely stayed behind on the boat heading for Hizuru. 
I think Isayama may be keeping Kiyomi alive for some role in Mikasa’s epilogue, if Mikasa does end up surviving the story. 
Yelena though?
I’m not honestly sure why Isayama decided to have her stay behind. 
It felt like Yelena had more story to give, since her relationship with Zeke and mini rivalry with Pieck have yet to be resolved. 
Maybe Isayama couldn’t find a way to fittingly put these things in the finale so he just had Yelena stay on the sidelines? 
Either way, I am a bit disappointed that we most likely won’t see an end to Yelena’s arc.
In any case, I do expect her and Kiyomi to survive the story since they are so far away from the final battle now. 

Any Chance of Zeke, Eren or Historia?

Every chapter we ask whether these characters will show up in the next one, don’t we? 
We saw Historia at the beginning of “Battle of Heaven and Earth,” where it was revealed that she is currently giving birth. 
Due to the potential importance of this plot point, with her baby possibly being the one we see in the final panel preview, I don’t see Historia showing up again until the penultimate, or very last chapter, unfortunately. 
I do think Isayama has severely underused her character though so, however he ends hers her story, it can hopefully satisfy her fans. 
As for Zeke, I really hope he turns up soon and gets his rivalry with Levi resolved because we haven’t seen him in the present story since Chapter 122. 
While I have faith that Isayama will at least show Eren and Historia by the end, there is always the fear that Isayama will reveal that Zeke died off screen. 
This said, I do have faith in him not to do this because of Zeke’s importance to the story, it’s just a little concern I have. 
Fingers crossed that Isayama can bring back Zeke in a meaningful way before the end. 
Then there’s Eren, who I’m not really concerned about. 
He might not appear next chapter physically but he is still the main character so he is going to show up and make a big appearance by the end.
It’s practically guaranteed.  
It’s just a matter of what happens to him at the end. 
Does he live, die, or get stuck in the Paths Dimension?
Only time will tell, and a short amount of time at that, with only three or four months left until this epic story reaches its conclusion.

Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Three, The Door of Hope Review: A Doorway to Misery.

4 stars
Being Reiner sucks.
I’m sure that’s a thought that passed through many viewers’ minds upon watching the third episode of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “The Door of Hope.”
Directed by Kōki Aoshima and Hiromi Nishiyama, the episode details the many, many, many times that life has kicked Reiner to the ground and then spat on him for good measure.
If you hated Reiner in prior seasons for his actions, then you may find it rather difficult to hate him after what we see him go through, as “The Door of Hope” is primarily a flashback episode to Reiner’ time as a Warrior on Paradis.
Before the episode gets to that point though, it starts off with Reiner’s humble beginnings, as his mother revealed to him as a child that his father was a Marleyan and the only way they could all be together was if they became honorary Marleyans.
This motivates Reiner to become a hero to the world by slaughtering the “island devils” so that both his parents will be proud of him.
However, this is easier said than done because Reiner is by far the weakest out of all the Warrior candidates, as pointed out by Porco.
This causes Reiner to go full brainwashed indoctrination mode, accusing Porco of being a Restorationist sympathiser, which results in him getting punched to the ground, not the last time this will happen in the episode.
Unfortunately, it is also here that I have to state one of my criticisms of “The Door of Hope”, which is the soundtrack used for this scene.
The music itself is great but it doesn’t suit the scene at all, being more fitting for an action scene than a dialogue driven one and this drew me out of the moment.
Still, the scene makes up for it with its showcases of Annie and Bertholdt, and the symbolism.
Bertholdt helps Reiner to his feet, showing his good nature that would later be corrupted by what he does on their mission in Paradis as the fearsome Colossal Titan.
This is contrasted by Annie, who seems well suited for the Female Titan already, crushing a bug under her feet, just like she would go on to crush the numerous Scouts who got in her way when she tried to capture Eren both times.
With this characterization done, the scene then transitions into some fantastic symbolism when, while Reiner looks up at the Wall separating the Liberio Eldians from the Marleyans, on Paradis, presumably at the same time,  Eren looks up at the walls separating him from freedom.
Both are trapped by walls and both are now given the opportunity to move forward past them. Reiner now has the motivation to become a Warrior so he can achieve his goal of becoming an Honorary Marleyan, and Eren is being approached by Armin with the book that will create his motivation to strive for freedom, no matter how far he will have to go to achieve it.
Following this great piece of symbolism, showing how similar Eren and Reiner are, we then get the first of many scenes that are improvements from the manga.
The first of these is the recap of six of Marley’s Titans, as we see them destroy an enemy nation’s military with a display of each of their powers and a description of their users.
The way this scene is edited with the files of each Warrior, followed by their power being shown, and this all ending with the portrayal of the Colossal Titan’s nuke attack as a “god of destruction” is way more intense than it was in the manga.
Another step up comes when Marcel is eaten by Ymir, which is framed like a scene from a horror film.
This moment came after Marcel revealed to Reiner that the only reason he became a Warrior was because he spoke up for him while criticizing Porco to the military, which he did to save his brother from shortening his lifespan by inheriting a Titan.
Marcel revealing this before he dies saving Reiner is just another in a long list of Reiner being kicked while he’s down, both figuratively and literally.
Figuratively, when he first meets his father only for him to call him and his mother a devil and run away from him, and literally, when Annie almost kicks Reiner to death after they lose Marcel.
The latter scene is particularly brutal, with some fantastic work from Annie’s voice actress, Yū Shimamura, in a scene that tells us so much about Annie’s mental state, being the least brainwashed of the trio, recognizing that both Marleyans and Eldians are liars, and only wanting to get back to her father.
However, it is following this great scene that again tops the manga, that we get a scene where the manga is clearly better, this time because of cuts.
The moment where Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt destroy the walls is almost completely cut, with old footage from season one primarily being used.
Annie’s involvement in destroying the wall, Bertholdt looking up at it upon arriving, and Reiner’s desperate fight to protect them in the chaos, is all cut for the sake of time.
Yet, while it is disappointing to see that these scenes have been left out, they are not essential to understanding the story so it is not a massive loss.
Thankfully, other, more important scenes are not cut, like the one with the villager who kills himself in the settlement after telling the Warriors his backstory.
This moment with the villager is important because it is his backstory that Bertholdt uses as their cover when he and Reiner are first introduced in season one, creating another rewarding find for viewers upon rewatches.
Another cool moment comes with Kenny making a brief cameo, as Annie tracks him to try and find the Founding Titan, only to realize this was a big mistake because of how dangerous Kenny is.
With some quick thinking and some good old kicking, Annie manages to evade the Ripper and report back to Reiner and Bertholdt, causing Reiner to decide they need to breach Wall Rose, leading to the attack in Trost.
Before cutting back to the traumatic present, we get one more symbolic scene between Eren and Reiner, as Reiner, after realizing he sees himself in Erne, encourages him to keep moving forward, a piece of advice he will sincerely regret giving later on.
Then we get another improvement on the manga, in the most gruesome of ways, with Reiner’s suicide attempt in the present.
Coming into “The Door of Hope”, I was concerned that this scene would be censored based off the trailer.
Nope!
They showed the whole thing in disturbing detail and even add things, like Reiner’s gasping after he thankfully decides not to go through with it because of a miraculous unintended interruption from Falco.
And Falco’s reward for unintentionally saving Reiner’s life?
Well, running into the most dangerous person in the world of course!
The reveal of Eren in the final moments of this episode is fantastic, with some stellar voice acting from Yuki Kaiji and great added symbolism with the tree behind him.
The build up to this scene was also great, with the previous episode hyping up his appearance in a subtle way that some anime only viewers picked up on and others didn’t.
It is in his conversation with Falco that Eren lays out the very themes of the episode, as he speaks of those who push themselves into hell for hope or just for another hell, and that the only ones who know what lies beyond are those who keep moving forward.
Well, Reiner has been trying to push the door open on hope for a while now and got nothing but misery, yet Eren seems determined to find hope, even if he has to go through hell and drag everyone with him to get there.
Overall, “The Door of Hope” is a great Attack on Titan episode that does a fantastic job of showing the suffering of Reiner and what comes of it.
It looks like we have only one more episode before we get to the adaptation of the amazing Chapter 100 and I, honestly, cannot wait.
Hope you all have a merry Christmas.

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Two, Midnight Train Review: Marley Arc Gets Uprising Arc Restyle.

3 and a half stars
Coming into the final season of Attack on Titan, I wondered if Mappa would cut or rearrange certain scenes from the Manga, like Wit did with the Uprising Arc, in order to make the story flow better.
Well, this question has been confirmed with the season’s second episode, “Midnight Train”, which adapts Chapters 93 and some of 94 and 95, skipping over Reiner’s flashback, leaving that for next week.
Whether this rearranging of scenes will be problematic or not remains to be seen with future episodes but, so far, it appears to be working well if “Midnight Train” is any indication.
Directed by Daisuke Tokudo, the episode starts off by adapting Chapter 93, although having various cuts throughout.
Beginning with the meeting between the Marleyan generals, the first scene highlights once again how Marley is falling behind other countries technologically because of their reliance on Titans in warfare.
This leads to Zeke suggesting they attempt to retake the Founding Titan to buy Marley time to catch up, saying that he will do so because he should be the one to bring an end to the plans of Grisha Jeager, as his former son.
While also revealing that Zeke has one year left in his term, this scene also unfortunately highlighted my main criticism with the episode, it’s animation.
While certainly not bad, it did have a few questionable moments, like with Zeke in this scene where his face looks oddly emotionless, with only his mouth being animated to move.
This odd animation continued in the following scene when Zeke and Colt are walking up some stairs and when Udo starts talking about the threats Eldians face.
Apparently, these two moments were made using rotoscoping, which is an animation technique.
It is used during other scenes in the episode and those all look great.
However, these two scenes with Colt and Zeke, and Udo look a little janky compared to the rest of “Midnight Train’s” animation and they pulled me out of the story for a brief moment.
Still, these are only small instances and the technique usually looks good.
Besides, the Colt and Zeke, and Udo scenes are both well done in their own right, providing great humor with Zeke’s ass wiping technique gag, and also tragically revealing the full extent of Reiner’s PTSD when he imagines Gabi, Falco, Udo and Zofia as Bertholdt, Annie, Marvel and Porco from his training days.
Speaking of Porco (Toshiki Masuda), we finally got to meet him and Pieck (Manami Numakura) this episode.
Both of their voice actors do great jobs as the characters, with Pieck being the Cart Titan and one of my favourite new characters introduced during the Marley Arc, and Porco being Marcel’s brother and the new Jaw Titan, meaning he ate Freckled Ymir to get her power.
That’s right, Freckled Ymir still dies off screen.
It’s disappointing that we still don’t have a death scene for her but it’s not like I expected anything better for her character at this point anyway.
Following these scenes, we get the titular train the episode title is referencing as we see the Eldian Warriors on one, returning to their home internment zone of Liberio, resulting in the humorous scene of Colt lifting up Gabi so everyone, including Gabi herself, can cheer for her.
Yet, there also comes a serious scene here, as Falco criticizes Reiner for apparently allowing his cousin to inherit his Armoured Titan, thus shortening her life span.
Reiner uses this moment to test Falco, resulting in two interesting reveals.
One, being that Falco’s last name is actually Grice, the same name of the man who was with Grisha in the Eldia Restorationists.
And two, that Reiner wants Falco to surpass Gabi and inherit his Armoured Titan so he can protect her from the dark future they face.
With this, the adaption of Chapter 93 comes to an end and we get a merged adaptation of parts from Chapters 94 and 95.
Starting with the Warriors reaching Liberio, we get some interesting new scenes of Porco and Pieck interacting with Gabi and Falco, acting as older siblings looking out for them.
I really liked this addition because it helps make their characters more sympathetic, also helped by all of the shots of all the Warriors reuniting with their families.
We have Zeke greeting his grandparents, Gabi hugging her parents, Reiner awkwardly reuniting with his mother, and an anime original scene of Pieck’s father coughing as he welcomes her, which introduces his illness a lot earlier than the manga does, which is a pretty cool addition.
Along with this heat warming scene, however, we also get a reminder of how war is constantly on the horizon, as the Marleyan, Koslow, scares a bunch of traumatized Eldian soldiers suffering from PTSD.
This also allows us to see Falco’s good side because he is kind enough to help one of these soldiers, whose armband has been placed on the wrong arm.
The next scene proves as a great contrast to the horrors of war because, while the traumatized soldiers screamed and fall when Koslow yells “Boom!” at them, Gabi yells “Boom!” with glee to her family, showing the extent of her indoctrination in Marleyan propaganda.
This indoctrination is shown further by Reiner having to act like the Eldians on Paradis Island are devils, comedically turning something as innocent as Sasha eating a potato into something monstrous.
On an unfortunate note, many anime only viewers seem to have misinterpreted this scene as Reiner trying to fool himself into believing this, when he is actually trying to subtly tell his family that those on Paradis are no different from them.
This may have been lost in translation because of the removal of Reiner smiling under his hand, so I wish they had kept that.
One great addition is the a brief moment that comes after this scene, as one of the traumatized soldiers is shown killing themselves, again showing the harm the Marleyans are doing by forcing the Eldians to fight their battles for them.
I love how Mappa is adding all of these scenes to show the horrors of war.
From here, the episode goes into adapting parts of Chapter 95, with the meeting between Zeke and the other Warriors, as Zeke explains their plan to take the Founding Titan with help from the Tyber family, the holders of the Warhammer Titan.
Here, we get another indication that Reiner is now fully aware of the Marleyan propaganda and indoctrination, as he realizes Zeke is hinting that the room is bugged and saves Porco, who is voicing his dissent, from endangering himself by interupting him.
With this moment, the episode ends as Reiner wonders if he really has to go back to Paradis, setting up the next episode to adapt all of his flashbacks, which is kind of worrying.
I have heard leaks about the pacing of this next episode and it makes me scared the writers could cut a lot of pivotal moments for Reiner’s character.
Fingers crossed they can do these chapters justice with just a single episode.
Back to the episode itself, “Midnight Train” is a solid adaptation that is brought down slightly by its occasionally janky animation and cut content.
Still a good episode though and I hope everything turns out alight for the next one.