The Boys Season One Review: Makes Injustice: Gods Among Us Look Like a Puppy.

5 stars
Superheroes being, well, less than super has become a common trend nowadays, with characters like Superman being given evil renditions, most notably in the Injustice: Gods Among Us storyline.
Well, I finally watched the first season of The Boys and I can clearly say that it knocked any previous rendition of evil superheroes flat over.
Developed by Erik Kripke for Amazon, and based off the comics by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boy follows Hughie (Jack Quaid), an average guy whose girlfriend is brutally killed in an accident by the superhero A-Train (Jessie T. Usher).

The opening of The Boys highlights that this will be darker than most superhero stories.

After being recruited by superhero hater Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), Hughie learns the dark truth about the world of superheroes and sets out with Butcher and his allies Frenchie (Tomer Capon), Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonzo) and the Female (Karen Fukuhara) to uncover a super conspiracy and take down the corrupt system. 
First of all, The Boys is an incredibly dark show with a lot of shocking moments.
These parts come not only from the lengths Hughie, Butcher and the rest of The Boys go to so they can have their revenge but also through the “heroes”, primarily Homelander (Antony Starr).
To say that Homelander is an evil version of Superman would be the understatement of the century.
Homelander makes the evil Superman from Injustice: Gods Among Us look like a puppy.
He is absolutely terrifying and his presence is all the evidence I need to say that giving anyone the kind of powers that he has would be a terrible idea.

Antony Starr does a fantastic job as the sociopathic superhero, Homelander.

However, not all the heroes are completely evil as many of them do have sympathetic sides, despite their horrific misdeeds.
The only hero who deserves the title, not having committed any wrongs, is Starlight (Erin Moriarty), whose depiction in the show is extremely reminiscent of the #MeToo movement based on what she goes through.
Thankfully, this is done in a respectful way that makes you cheer for her, and her emerging relationship with Hughie is genuinely sweet.

Starlight’s struggles culminate in a fantastic scene on a stage that will have you applauding her right alongside Hughie.

Although, my favourite character dynamic of the entire season would definitely have to go to the Female and Frenchie whose growing bond is great to watch.
Sadly, its not all sunshine and rainbows because, as I mentioned, the show can get extraordinarily brutal, with at least one jaw droppingly dark moment every episode.
This is best encapsulated by the season one finale, which has one of the most shocking cliffhangers that I have seen in a while and made me incredibly excited for season two.

I genuinely have no idea what’s going to happen in season two after the jaw dropping final moments of the finale.

All in all, The Boys is the best example of superheroes gone bad story out there, with fantastic characters and a nice blend of humor and horrifying moments.
This all comes together to make The Boys a true Spice Girls quality show… just watch it, you’ll get the reference.

Hinamatsuri Manga Review: I Have Never Laughed Harder.

4 and a half stars
Ah, it feels like just yesterday that I watched Hinamatsuri for the first time at the anime club of my university.
Based off the manga by Masao Ōtake, the story of a Yakuza gang member, named Nitta, who is blackmailed by a telekinetic girl, named Hina, into taking care of her, along with the tale of how a middle school student, named Hitomi, became a bartender, provided us all with a lot laughs.
In fact, when I did my review of the anime, I framed this premise like it was something out of a joke, “Tell me if you’ve heard this one; a Yakuza and a telekenetic girl walk into a bar and order a drink from an underage bartender”, is what I said.
Well, that joke sounding premise was very real and the laughs the show delivered were just as good or even better than any gag that joke could have produced.

This being said, though, the joke I made is a pretty fair description of the story.

So, after reminiscing on how funny the anime was, learning that there is no season two in sight, and also learning that the manga had recently finished, I decided to read that manga and, boy, was it worth it. 
I honestly don’t remember a time I have laughed harder after reading Hinamatsuri. 
The jokes almost always land in a hysterical fashion that reflects the absurdity of each situation. 
When the manga gets to the actual plot of the story it gets even more absurd. 
By that, I mean that Hinamatsuri takes a bit of a dive down a save the world storyline and yet this story is always on the back burner compared to the other characters’ personal struggles. 
This works because of how likable and funny these characters are.
Just like in the anime, my favourite character is definitely Hitomi, the inspirational success story who did not want to be an inspirational success story.

Bow before our lord and savoir Hitomi Mishima because I’m pretty sure she’s going to be a god at the end of her lifetime with how far she had progressed by the story’s conclusion.

What helps Hitomi is that the comedy in her storylines is always hilarious and some of the most hysterical moments in the entire manga.
I’m going to remember her wondering if everyone praising Anzu was part of some cult, her threatening Nitta, and, most of all, her accidentally being sent to a boot camp rather than an English class, resulting in her swearing like a sailor whenever she switches to the language. 
That last one was unfortunately not included in the anime, most likely for censorship reasons.  
But, that’s why Hinamatsuri is such a great read, even if you’ve read the bits that the anime already covered, because many hilarious moments from the manga were cut from the show. 
Back to the characters, the other ones are just as enjoyable, with Anzu continuing as best daughter and Nitta and Hina still being the lovable scumbags I remember. 
And then there’s Mao, who didn’t really make an impression on me in the anime because she felt more like a teaser character for a second season. 
Reading the manga, I got to see where her story went from that teaser.
Honestly, even though I was disappointed with how Mao’s reunion with Hina and Anzu was treated, I still found her to be among the best Hinamatsuri characters along with Hitomi, Anzu, Hina and Nitta. 

Like all the other characters, Mao has plenty of funny moments, mostly centered around her doll fixation.

Although, I will say, that even though a lot of these characters are hilarious, there are a few characters who I just never felt attached to and that their role in the story wasn’t really thought out that clearly. 
However, the great character development and humor more than make up for this. 
Overall, Hinamatsuri is a fantastic manga that provides some great characters and exceptional laughs, even if some of the characters storylines were not that great. 
I hope the anime gets a season two soon so I can laugh all over again.

Attack on Titan Chapter 132: Wings of Freedom Review. Happy Birthday.

4 and a half stars
Man, Hajime Isayama sure does like pulling on our heart strings doesn’t he?
Long before Chapter 132 of Attack on Titan, “Wings of Freedom”, came out, I was pretty sure I knew what was going to happen.
What with all the Happy Birthday wishes for Hange and talks of there being two major character deaths this chapter, I was almost certain that the eccentric 14th Commander of the Survey Corps was not going to make it out  alive.
Sure enough, Chapter 132 delivered one of the emotional character deaths of the series with Hange Zoe sacrificing herself so that the alliance could escape to confront Eren and try to stop the Rumbling.
For a chapter that ends in tragedy though, much of “Wings of Freedom” is actually light hearted, with a lot of character growth and great jokes being showcased as the plane is being prepared for take off in Odiha.
The best of these jokes came when Mikasa realized that Annie has a crush on Armin.
Her face when she realized this was absolutely priceless and reminded me a lot of the surprised Pikachu face meme.
Two interesting points for the story to explore also come out of this interaction.
The first of these is Mikasa telling Annie that she has the scarf Eren gave her but that she doesn’t want to wear it right now.
This line, along with Louise revealing in Chapter 126 that Eren told her to get rid of the scarf, seems to be foreshadowing a big plot development surrounding Mikasa and Eren’s connection with that scarf.
Knowing Isayama though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this storyline end tragically.
The second interesting point that comes out of Mikasa and Annie’s conversation is that Armin didn’t actually convince Annie to come with them, like I thought he would, and Annie still plans on staying behind.
In fact, it’s not just her, but Gabi, Falco, Yelena and Kiyomi are also not coming.
Now, while these characters staying behind for the final battle does make sense, with Annie not wanting to fight anymore, Gabi and Falco being children, Yelena being injured, and Kiyomi not having the skills, I still think there is a lot of missed potential in leaving them out.
For example, Is Yelena really never going to have a conclusion to her relationship with Zeke?
However, I will not fault “Wings of Freedom” for this because, although I would be disappointed if Isayama left these characters out of the final battle, that hasn’t happened yet so I can’t criticize the chapter for it right now.
Hopefully, Isayama will find a way to give each of these characters a chance to shine before the story ends.
Following Annie’s interaction with Mikasa, we get a set of goodbye’s from her.
There is a heart warming scene where she says goodbye to Reiner and Pieck and Reiner apologizes to her for making her and Bertholdt go along with the mission to attack Paradis, before they embrace.
Afterwards, we see Annie waving goodbye to the Scouts, accompanied by a couple of panels of her looking sadly at Armin before departing.
Well, if that’s not a death flag for Annie or Armin then I don’t know what is.
Honestly, though, there are so many things that could constitute as death flags in this chapter, from Pieck saying she has to pay back her dead comrades, to Reiner entrusting Annie with Gabi and Falco’s safety, to Hange asking Levi if he thinks their dead comrades are watching them.
Sadly, the death flag about Hange was entirely valid this chapter.
I was worried about her dying since she saw her dead comrades in Chapter 127, just like Erwin did before he died, and my fears were finally realized this chapter.
However, Hange is not the first big death in Chapter 132.
No, that death goes to Floch as, surprising no one, he managed to latch onto the ship like a cockroach and makes his last stand, damaging the ship before he is taken out by Mikasa.
I will say that I do have mixed feelings about Floch’s death here.
On the one hand, his final words show that he really did care about protecting his people, even though he took it way too far by devolving into Nationalism, and his death does have an impact, leading to Hange having to sacrifice herself.
On the other hand, I’m not sure if Mikasa was the right choice for the one to kill Floch.
Sure, she is certainly a better choice than Gabi, but I think it would have been better for a character who had more build up with him like Jean or Hange to do the deed.
Isayama may have been paying off the scene where Mikasa nearly killed Floch when he tried to stop her taking the syringe from Levi, before Hange stopped her, in Chapter 84 but that may be stretching it.
In any case, Floch’s death certainly wasn’t bad, I just think it could have been executed slightly better.
What was perfect though was Hange’s death.
As I said, Floch was the cause of her having to sacrifice herself because he shot holes in the plane’s fuel tank just as the Rumbling arrived, forcing someone to stay behind to kill some of the advancing Wall Titans to give the alliance time to escape.
Hange chooses to do so, taking responsibility for the comrades she had killed and appoints Armin as the 15th Commander of the Survey Corps.
It is then that we get one of the most gut wrenching moments of the chapter as Levi confronts Hange before she departs.
Hange is clearly trying to put on a brave face and, accepting that she has made her choice, Levi puts a fist to her chess and says for the first time, “Devote your heart.”
From here, we get the emotional death of Hange, around her birthday no less, as she courageously fights the Wall Titans, killing at least four of them and giving her allies enough time to escape.
One of her last words is especially fitting, “Titans really are incredible.”
Hange often struggled with being the Commander and even admits in this chapter that she was powerless and couldn’t offer Eren any hope (which was unfortunately mistranslated, making it seem liked she was throwing Eren under the bus).
Yet, in her final moments, Hange was her true Titan loving self, going back to the time when she was most happy, studying her Titans, and saves her comrades lives.
The panel of her on fire, falling to her death, as the 104th look on in tears is not even the most heart breaking thing about Hange’s death.
For me, the saddest thing about it is Levi’s reaction, with him saying he will see Hange later and asking her to watch over them.
Levi is a character who has always kept his emotions on the inside, never allowing himself to cry over his comrades’ deaths and continue with his mission, and yet you can still tell how torn up he is about Hange’s death.
He has now lost all of his old friends, being the last of the old scouts.
A part of me wonders if killing Levi off would be completely sad now because then at least he could be reunited with his comrades, just like Hange was at the end of the chapter.
She wakes up in a Wall Titan’s footprint and is welcomed by Erwin, Hange, Mike, Gelgar, Nanaba, and all of her old Survey Corps friends.
Whether this really is the afterlife or just her hallucinating in her final moments, it is both a gut wrenching and heart warming scene that does Hange’s death justice.
It actually reminded me of (The Promised Neverland Spoilers!) Yugo’s death from from The Promised Neverland.
Now, I’m just afraid that the rest of the characters are going to start dropping like flies, especially since we’re close to the end, with the alliance most likely about to confront Eren at Fort Salta in the next few chapters.
Speaking of, that’s another interesting thing about Chapter 132.
Yelena reveals that Eren is most likely heading to attack Fort Salta, Atlas backwards, and also reveals that the place Eren attacked in Chapter 130 was called Acirfa, Africa backwards.
I guess Isayama really does consider the world of Attack on Titan ours, only flipped upside down, huh?
Overall, Chapter 132, “Wings of Freedom”, was another fantastic chapter of Attack on Titan, despite a few concerns, like some of the characters being left behind, and some issues I had, like with Mikasa being the one to kill Floch.
Far surpassing these slightly iffy moments were were some surprisingly wholesome and funny moments, like Hange asking to ride Pieck’s Cart Titan, and the emotional and fitting send off for Hange, one of the story’s most beloved characters.

Tenet Review: Inverting Confusion.

4 stars
It’s quite rare nowadays to see a blockbuster film that is not a sequel, prequel, reboot, remake or some other continuation of a franchise. 
However, when we do get one, chances are that it comes from the creative Christopher Nolan, who just loves to deliver films with mind bending concepts to get us thinking. 
Tenet is his latest films and by far his most polarizing. 
I have seen multiple different reactions, from people loving the film for its creativity, to people hating it for being overly confusing, both of which are valid standpoints. 
It is very easy to get confused in Tenet and this happened to me multiple times, until the film itself inverted and everything fell into place. 

The final act of Tenet made the first half so much better because it cleared up a lot of my confusion.

The film follows John David Washington’s character, simply known as the Protagonist, who is recruited into a secret organization that wages espionage using a time distortion technique known as inversion. 
To say anything else would be spoiling too much because, right from the opening, every single bit of detail we get is important to the story. 
And be sure to pay attention because if you lose one piece of information then you may become lost entirely. 
I know I was lost on what happened in a couple of scenes, until I looked up their meaning after seeing the film. 
While this confusing use of exposition may be polarizing to some audiences, I think it really pays off in the end because of the last 45 minutes. 
Even though I did enjoy the film up until that point, I was mostly just along for the ride and not understanding what was happening.
Those final 45 minutes recontextualized the whole film and made the confusing experience I had before this point worth it.  
What helped me stay engaged in the film, despite being almost totally lost as to what was happening for most of it, is the fantastic action, pure spectacle, great performances and stellar score. 
Tenet has some of the best action scenes of the year, helped by the meaning added to them in the third act, and the spectacle of plenty of the shots is jaw dropping.
As for the performances, everyone does a great job. 
Washington is compelling as The Protagonist, even though you don’t know much about him for most of the film, Elizabeth Debicki is entirely relatable as Kat, and Robert Pattison gave probably my favourite performance in the entire film as Neil.

Pattinson does an incredible job as Neil, making me even more excited for when he plays Batman.

As for the villain of the film, Kenneth Branagh plays Andrei Sator in a great performance but for an antagonist that is solely serviceable. 
Now, though, we have to get into the issues of Tenet, which do hold it back.
Definitely the biggest of these issues is the sound mixing. 
The music and sound effects are blasting so loud at times that it is almost impossible to hear what the characters are saying and, when you need to hear practically every line of dialogue to understand what is happening, this is not a good thing. 
The sound mixing is particularly bad during a sailing scene, and one pivotal scene where the music is booming and some characters are even speaking backwards while other characters are speaking normally. 
It was very disorienting and really took me out of the film. 

I clearly remember thinking, Turn the dialogue up! I’m trying to understand this scene! At one point.

At least Ludwig Göransson’s score is amazing to listen to.
Also, despite the film being saved by its third act recontextualizing everything, I still cannot deny that a lot of people are going to be put off by the confusing first two acts. 
Still, despite its flaws, Tenet is a great film that is worth seeing for the pure spectacle of inversion alone. 
It is one of Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious films but also sure to be one of his most divisive. 

Attack on Titan Chapter 132 Predictions.

Attack on Titan Chapter 132 is just around the corner and, with the last chapter’s horrifying showcase of the Rumbling, many are wondering how Isayama will continue the story as we near the end.
Fortunately, Chapter 131, “Rumbling”, provided us with a lot of interesting scenes and panels to speculate the meaning of, starting with,

What Will Ymir’s Role be?

Partway through “Rumbling”, we saw the horrific scene of the innocent child Ramzi being crushed in Eren’s genocide, along with his brother Halil and thousands, if not millions, of other innocents.
However, during all of this horror, one curious event happened.
Right as Ramzi is being crushed under the massive foot of a Wall Titan, he appears to see Ymir Fritz, the one who started this entire story, looking at him.
We haven’t seen Ymir since Chapter 122, when she lent Eren her power to start the Rumbling because he was the only person who ever let her make her own decision, and many have been wondering what her thoughts on the actual Rumbling are.
We don’t get a look at Ymir’s face here so it is hard to guess what she is feeling upon seeing all of this slaughter.
Whether she is horrified by this or not, though, could lead to her role in the endgame as she can either continue to support Eren or turn against him.
There is also the question of why Ramzi can see Ymir since he isn’t an Eldian.
He didn’t see Eren’s declaration that the Rumbling would kill everyone so he can’t be one, which makes it weird that he can see Ymir.
Of course, it could just be that this was Ymir looking at Ramzi and he couldn’t see her back.
But if he could see her, then this has interesting implications because then Ymir may somehow be able to influence anything, not just Subjects of Ymir.
Whatever the case though, Ymir is sure to have a big role in the end of this story.
Personally, I am still a member of the Ymir getting reborn as Eren and Historia’s child theory bandwagon.
I think that would be the perfect way to end this fantastic story.

Why is Eren in Child Form and Will he Make it or not?

Another point of speculation created by Chapter 131 is why Eren was in child form when he committed the Rumbling.
This question was the result of the chilling panel where he declared that he was experiencing freedom as his genocide killed countless people.
I have seen two theories about this, the first being that Eren is disassociating to cope with the guilt, like Reiner did when he was on Paradis.
This would make sense because we know Eren is not a complete monster, despite his actions, because he does feel remorse, as shown by his tearful apology to Ramzi when they met in Marley.
Another theory is that Eren is reverting to when he first received his Titan powers from Grisha, just like Ymir reverted to her child form, which was when she first got her powers, after she entered the Paths Dimension.
Although, this theory does have one snag and this is that Eren was not in child form when he announced the Rumbling to all Subjects of Ymir.
I guess only time will tell if we will get an explanation about why Eren appears as a child here.
A far more pressing question is if Eren is actually going to survive to the end of the story.
The final panel of Chapter 131 shows his decapitated head, only attached to his body through his exposed spine.
We know Titan Shifters can heal but Eren doesn’t seem to have completely healed after Gabi shot his head off, due to the showcase of the spine.
Maybe because his Titan form is so large, and he is exerting so much power controlling it and the Wall Titans, he can’t focus enough to heal.
This could be the key to the alliance defeating Eren but if he will live or not is another matter.
I can see different scenarios where he lives or dies going down and it will be interesting to see if he is punished for his genocide by being killed or if will have to live with the guilt of his actions.
Like Ymir, I have my own theory about Eren’s fate, and that is that he will continue to live after the Rumbling for four years, until his term is up and he ends up passing away from Ymir’s curse.
Eren only having four years left is constantly mentioned, like in Chapter 130 for example, so it would make sense.

What Will Armin do?

Next to Eren, Armin was the most important character of the “Rumbling” chapter.
This is not just because he finally revealed his feelings for Annie but also because he saw child Eren in the paths and reveals he still has hope that there is a world they haven’t seen yet outside the walls.
In my opinion, this is Isayama setting up Armin for something big.
Eren did say back in the Return to Shiganshina Arc that Armin would be the one to save humanity.
Maybe this will be his chance to save the world and finally prove that he was the right choice over Erwin in the Serumbowl.
We also know from the audio teasing the ending that Armin will be one of the key characters confronting Eren.
All that remains to be seen is what his plan will be in trying to talk Eren out of the Rumbling or forcibly stop him.
He is the narrator though, so I don’t think he will die, even if he fails.

Can Eren see Through Birds?

Crazy question, I know.
Just hear me out.
At the end of Chapter 131, when Armin is talking to Annie, a seagull lands on the ship and watches them, before it cuts to Eren in his exposed spine state.
This is not the only recent usage of birds because some crows are seen looking at the approaching Rumbling, and eagles are seen following the alliance’s ship and flying over the military alliance’s fleet.
This started the theory that Eren is somehow controlling these birds with the power of the Founding Titan and is using them to spy on threats.
So, basically, the theory is that Eren is Bran Stark, only a lot more useful.
The implications this has for the story could be interesting because it might just link back to the being that gave Ymir her powers, which was called the “source of all living matter” by Kruger.
Maybe this being, which is apparently the source of living things, can control everything and Ymir only chose to use it to change the Eldians under pressure from the Fritz king and his descendants.
Now that Eren has her power, he can use it freely, meaning he can control all living things if he wishes.
Or, maybe I’m just an idiot overthinking things and the birds are just symbolism for freedom as they always have been.
Again, time will tell.

Could the High School AU Become Canon?

No.
Just, god no.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, for a long time the Attack on Titan volume releases have come with around two pages of a comedic alternate universe at the end, where the characters from the manga are all in a high school.
Recently, in that au, Eren has begun wishing for more excitement in his life and a cult storyline has emerged where Eren is the only one who can see Ymir, so her followers want to capture him.
This, along with an image from the high school au appearing in a memory shard from Chapter 120, has caused people to speculate that Attack on Titan is, in fact, an Isekai.
The theory is that Eren is from a normal world and wished for a more exciting one so Ymir created the world of Attack on Titan for him, where he could become the enemy of the world.
I hate this theory.
The high school au is only around two pages in each volume and those who don’t collect these volumes won’t even know about it.
Aside from the single memory shard of the au Armin and Mikasa, which I hope to god is just an Easter Egg rather than being actually important, there is no other build up to the high school au being canon in the actual story.
It would come completely out of left field.
Also, and this is more of a personal thing, but I am not really all that into Isekais.
So, even if it was built up well, I still probably wouldn’t like this happening.
Again, this is my own personal opinion though.
I just hope Isayama stays in his own canon universe and doesn’t feel the need to bring alternate universes into it.

Remaining Story Structure Prediction.

There has been a lot of speculation about when Attack on Titan will end.
Isayma said he planned to end it this year and in a recent interview he estimated that there was around five percent of the story left.
This has caused many to believe that the story is assured to end in 2020, which would mean there are four chapters left.
However, I have my doubts about this.
I honestly don’t believe the story can end in four chapters because I feel like there is still so much to wrap up.
I actually feel like Chapter 138 would be a more appropriate number.
There is even speculation that the manga will end at Chapter 139 over a supposed leak.
This leak must, of course, be taken with a grain of salt, however, it does make sense with the importance of the numbers of 13 and 9 across the story.
So, the manga ending at either Chapter 138 or 139 would mean either seven or eight chapters left, meaning two volumes, which I think is an appropriate number to end it at.
But how would this be structured?
This is just a guess but I assume that the rest of Volume 33 will mainly be alliance focused as they prepare to confront Eren.
They’ll reach Odiha, prepare the plane, maybe Floch will intervene, Kiyomi may reveal her importance.
Whatever happens, I expect Volume 33 to conclude with the scene from the audio that teased the ending, with the alliance finally confronting Eren and Armin screaming his name.
Then, we will have the final volume, which will cover the final battle of the series; the alliance vs Eren for the fate of the world, with the last chapter dealing with the aftermath and ending on the panel that Isayma also teased a while ago.
No matter how this final act for Attack on Titan is structured though, I hope it can bring a fitting end to my favourite story of all time.

The Umbrella Academy Season Two Review.

4 stars
I quite enjoyed the first season of The Umbrella Academy. 
Based off the comic by Gerad Way and created by Steve Blackman for Netflix, the show followed the dysfunctional, superpowered family of the Hargreeves as they attempted to stop the end of the world… only to inadvertently cause it.  
Now, we finally have season two with the family now trapped in 1963 with ten days to stop the end of the world… again.
And all of the Hargreeves family have their own storylines and new characters to interact with.
There’s the literal ticking time bomb Vanya (Ellen Page), gorilla bodied Luther (Tom Hopper), justice seeker Diego (David Castañeda), rumor girl Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), addict Klaus (Robert Sheehan), and older man trapped in a younger man’s body Five (Aidan Gallagher). 
Surprisingly though, I would say that my favourite character of the family this season would have to be Klaus’ ghost buddy Ben (Justin H. Min) who has a great arc.

Ben was unexpectedly the best character this season and Min does a great job playing the ghost sibling

However, I will say that the way Klaus treats Ben did make me like Klaus a lot less as a character.
Onto more positives now, we also get more insight into the Umbrella Academy’s horrible father Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore), with one of the best scenes in the season being a meeting between him and the family he traumatized. 
As for new characters, many of them are great, with Allison, Vanya and Diego’s love interests Ray (Yusuf Gatewood), Sissy (Marin Ireland), and Lila (Ritu Arya) being especially interesting with their storylines. 
We also got some pretty fantastic action scenes this season, like the opening battle and a fight with Five in the middle. 
As well as this, the show is not afraid to go into weird territory with things like a talking fish and aliens, along with the bulk load of weird stuff from the first season. 
Although, I will say that season two is not all good. 
For one thing, I was disappointed with how some amazing characters from the first season were written out.  
Not only this but even though I said some of the action sequences are great, some are rather bad. 
This is the case for one of the final battles of the season, which has the absolute worst case of Stormtrooper aim that I have ever seen.  

Seriously, there’s an entire army shooting at our heroes and somehow all of the bullets miss. How is that possible?

There is also some character logic that doesn’t really make much sense when you think too much about it. 
Still, despite these issues, the second season of The Umbrella Academy is a solid season that I would rank just as good as the first.
It has a great cliffhanger that prepares us for more craziness with this crazy family next season.

Hannibal Review: Hope You Have a Strong Stomach.

5 stars
I had been told plenty of times over the years that Hannibal was a fantastic show but I never got around to watching it.
Well, after stumbling across it on Netflix I decided to give it a shot and what can I say other than, wow.
I was hooked on this show from start to finish and NBC made a huge mistake cancelling it.
The series is equal parts gripping and horrifying with plenty of disturbing imagery that suits the titular Hannibal the Cannibal like a human skin glove.
Speaking of, Mads Mikkelsen is absolutely incredible as Hannibal Lecter, even rivaling the Anthony Hopkins version, which is no small feat.

mads mikkelsen
Developed by Bryan Fuller, the show follows his sinister yet no less intriguing relationship with criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), whose unique way of sympathizing with murderers allows him to have an edge in catching them.
However, Hannibal’s interest in him leads to many disturbing events in Will’s life that may very well push him over the deep end by the show’s conclusion.
Dancy does an amazing job as Will and the chemistry he has with Mikkleson makes the friendship/romance(?) between him and Hannibal all the more investing and dark.
It’s not just these two though because every actor does a magnificent job from Laurence Fishburn, to Caroline Dhavernas, to Raul Esparaz.
The fact that you like many of these characters makes it all the worse when Hannibal, or some other killer gets a hold of them, like the terrifying Francis Dollarhyde (Richard Armitage), who has a fantastic score, by the way.

richard armitage
What makes it crueler is how disturbing this show can get with its gore.
Seriously, you need a strong stomach to watch this show, although you may get desensitized to the extreme violence by the end of it all.
Even if you cannot handle all of the gore though, it is all more than worth it because of the phenomenal television Hannibal delivers.
Everything just comes together, from the acting, to the cinematography, to the score, to make Hannibal one of the greatest television shows ever with some incredible seasons.
Season one is a slow descent into madness that introduces you to the show’s characters perfectly and makes you care about them before it’s gut wrenching ending.
Season two is definitely my favourite, delivering an intense thrill ride that culminates in one of the most shocking episode of television that I have ever seen, “Mizumono.”
That episode left me in stunned silence by the end.

mizumo
While season three is a little slow to begin with, by episode five it gets back to the original quality of the first two seasons and ends on a high note.
Overall, Hannibal is an amazing show that easily lives up the legacy of The Silence of the Lambs film and Thomas Harris’ novels.
Mads Mikkelson, especially, is a highlight.
It was a mistake for NBC to cancel it but I hope we get some more terrifying content in the future.

Japan Sinks 2020: At This Point, I Wouldn’t Even be Surprised.

3 stars
2020 has been a disaster of a year so it’s only fitting that an anime comes out, set in that year, where massive earthquakes cause Japan to begin sinking.
It also makes sense then that the anime is a bit of a mess, again, just like 2020.
Directed by Pyeon-Gang Ho and Masaaki Yuasa, Japan Sinks follows the Muto family who are caught up in the disaster of their country sinking beneath their feet.
The family consists of aspiring runner Auyumu (Reina Ueda), her brother, the gamer Go (Tomu Muranaka), and their parents, dedicate father Koichiro (Masaki Terasoma), and Filipino working mother Mari (Yuko Sasaki).
Over the course of the anime, they struggle to survive, encountering many other survivors who join them on their journey, but not everyone makes it out alive.

muto family
Japan Sinks doesn’t pull any punches with what can happen to any character at any time.

The first three episodes of  Japan Sinks are very well done, for the most part, depicting the horror that such a disaster would have expertly, except for a few weird scenes like characters taking family photos in the midst of this.
These episodes also establish that no character is safe, which makes for a lot of tense moments, considering that I came to like a lot of these characters.
Surprisingly, my favourite characters came from outside the Muto family, primarily Haruo Koga (Hiroyuki Yoshino), Auyumu’s former friend turned introvert, and Kite (Kensho Ono), a famous YouTuber.
Both these characters have great arcs that made me really care for them as the show went on.

haruo
Haruo had a pretty great arc, going from introvert to hero.

I wish my care for certain characters had extended to a love for the show but, unfortunately, it couldn’t for a variety of reasons.
The primary reason though is that episodes four to six are a complete waste of time, introducing mostly terrible characters, and some awful animation.
It took me ten days to watch the entire show and, of that time, it took me five days to get through episodes four to six.
That should tell you how much of a drag those episodes were.
On the plus side though, episode six did provide the most unintentionally hilarious death scene I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.
Other problems persist throughout Japan Sinks, like the animation issues, amount of unexplained events and coincidences, and characters acting like no real person would, for example, seemingly moving on immediately after a loved one dies.
These problems are seen throughout the show and really drag its high moments down, although there are a fair amount of these high moments.
After episode six, the story picks up again and the episodes are actually enjoyable, delivering a reflective finale that brought a smile to my face.
Then there are the themes, which are very well handled.
For example, the show tackles racism in Japan with the mixed family of the Mutos experiencing a lot of it from purely Japanese people.
Also, I like a lot of the subtlety for certain characters, like Kite, who we learn something about in the final episode that I honestly didn’t catch until another review pointed it out to me.

kite
I didn’t expect to like Kite at first so I was surprised when he became one of my favourites.

There is a lot of good things about Japan Sinks. 
It’s just a shame that the majority of those good things are dragged down by some truly awful episodes, animation issues and inconsistencies.
Japan Sinks is a mixed bag that delivers plenty of good moments but also a lot of bad moments.
So, I guess you could say that the show is 2020 in a nutshell.

Peninsula Review: Less Train to Busan, More Mad Max.

3 and a half stars
Train to Busan 
is my favourite zombie movie of all time.
It is an emotional thrill ride that I find myself returning to time and time again.
So, you can bet that when I heard a sequel was coming out, titled Peninsula, I was incredibly excited.
Because of the pandemic, many films have not been able to come to cinemas in my country but Peninsula was one that did.
I saw an advertisement for a limited screening and booked a ticket as quick as I could, viewing it in a packed theater.
However, I did go in with some reservations.
In the months before Peninsula’s release, I had seen the trailer and, to me, it looked like a generic zombie story that I had seen a thousand times before.
Train to Busan was so much more than that so I was hoping that its sequel would be at least of a similar caliber.
Although, there were some things that spoke in the film’s favor, like it having the same director as the original, Yeon Sang-ho.
So, when the movie started, I was hopeful, yet cautious.
Well, for the first half hour of the film, all of my concerns flooded away.
The opening of Peninsula had the same emotional impact of Train to Busan, almost bringing me to tears in the first ten to fifteen minutes.

peninsula movie
The first ten to fifteen minutes of Peninsula has the same emotional weight as the original Train to Busan. The rest of the film though…

This time around, the film centers on Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) and his brother-in-law Chul-min (Kim Do-yoon), two survivors from the outbreak who have been traumatized by the losses they suffered.
Four years after the virus first broke out, the two and other survivors return to the peninsula to retrieve millions of dollars, which they can use to build new lives for themselves.
Of course, this operation does not go according to plan, with the characters struggling to survive not just against zombies but psychotic humans as well.
As I said, the first half hour of the film is amazing, setting up this storyline incredibly well.
However, after the half hour mark, the fears I had going in were sadly realised as Peninsula devolved into the generic, cliched zombie story I was afraid it would be.
The film honestly feels like they were trying to emulate Mad Max more than Train to Busan.
Seriously, there are so many car chases in this film that just defy the laws of physics and completely broke my suspension of disbelief on multiple occasions.
The CGI also doesn’t help with this but I won’t say that it was awful or anything.
Many of the characters also fall into the cliched zombie tropes of old, most notably the corrupt former soldiers who have become psychotic in the zombie infested landscape.
Look at the villain of the first film, Yong-suk.
He was a commentary on the bad aspects of business culture in South Korea, making him an investing character that we loved to hate.
The villains of this film are just generic, psychotic bad guys.

zombie cage fight
The antagonists of Peninsula are the typical crazy soldiers who feed people to zombies for fun that we have all seen before.

The other characters aren’t much better with the only exceptions being Jung-seok, Chul-min and possibly Min-jung (Lee Jung-hyun), but Jung-seok and Chul-min did have the benefit of having the film built around their struggles.
Peninsula also ends very abruptly and in a way that made me wonder what the point was.
There is a problem that I found to be very funny though and that is the English.
The movie has a lot of English speaking characters this time around and this creates many unintentionally hilarious scenes.
Not because of bad pronunciation though, no, but because of how bad the English dialogue is written.
An opening news scene felt completely unnatural and, worst of all, one hilariously bad case of English dialogue had me laughing at a scene that was supposed to be incredibly emotional.
However, I will not say that the film was bad overall.
Like I said, the first half hour is the best part with the first 15 minutes actually getting me close to tearing up because of how emotional it was.
As stated, I also did like a couple of the characters, like Jung-seok.
Unlike Seok-woo from Train to Busan, who was just a businessman caught in this bad situation, Jeong-seok is more of an action hero, which does suit the film he is in.
I liked his arc, which is one of redemption.

pensila character
Although many of the characters are bland, I did like Jeong-seok’s arc quite a bit because it was built up and executed well.

Another thing that is important to note is that, even though I have criticized this film for being just another generic zombie film, that makes it the perfect movie to just sit back and enjoy the action.
If you’re looking for a good popcorn film that you can entertain you for nearly two hours and then never think of again, then you can have fun with Peninsula.
The action is at least well shot enough for you to enjoy yourself.
However, if you are looking for a spiritual successor to the original Train to Busan then you will most likely be left disappointed.

Attack on Titan Chapter 131, Rumbling, Review: Attack on Titan’s Third Impact.

5 stars
Last month, Hajime Isayama delivered an Attack on Titan chapter that had the potential to be in my top ten best.
This month, he did it again with Chapter 131, “Rumbling”, which easily goes down as the manga’s darkest chapter by an extremely wide margin.
The majority of “Rumbling” consists of the consequences of Eren’s genocide, resulting in many brutal deaths.
Without a doubt, the most horrific of these deaths are those of Ramzi and his brother Halil.
Ramzi is the boy from Chapter 123, who partied with the Survey Corps when they first came to Marley, and “Rumbling” opens with him showing Halil where he hides the money he has pickpocketed to help their family survive.
Here, we get a tragic showcase of how cruel their lives are, as Ramzi not only reveals that many of their people die during the winter because of the lack of shelter, but is also shown to have had his right hand cut off for stealing.
Not all is lost in Ramzi’s mind though, because he has hope that the money he steals will be enough to get his family out of poverty and give them all a happy life.
A sadly naive dream to be sure but one that is incredibly sympathetic, made all the worse by the arrival of the Rumbling.
With this genocide, both Ramzi’s family, life and dreams are crushed under the massive feet of the Colossal Titans.
Watching Ramzi and Halil desperately run for their lives, only for Halil to turn back for the money, and then be crushed by debris was absolutely horrifying.
This is made even worse to read when it is shown Ramzi survived the falling debris, only to see that his brother’s head has been smashed in and that he is still clutching the money that held all of their hopes.
We then get to see Ramzi slowly being crushed under the foot of a Wall Titan in agonizing detail that is difficult to stomach, let alone read.
Just as horrifying is the panels of the many other innocent people who are murdered in Eren’s genocide.
In one particular heart breaking panel, we see multiple reactions from different people.
Some bang on a door trying to escape their deaths, one breaks off to try and flee in another direction, a mother holds her child close, and a man holding his bags looks up towards their oncoming deaths and just seems to accept his fate.
What makes this situation even more tragic is Eren’s perspective.
It is interlaced with Ramzi’s point of view, and reveals that the hidden memory shard of him from Eren’s memory was not from after Eren left to hide in Marley but rather before.
After leaving the meeting where the person calling for Eldian rights damned the people of Paradis, Eren walked the streets, contemplating his future actions, when he came across Ramzi being attacked.
After some hesitation, wondering why he should save him if he’s going to kill him later, Eren gives in to his conscience and rescues the boy before tearfully telling him he is sorry for what he will do in the future, even if Ramzi does not understand.
This heartbreaking moment makes for a chilling contrast to Eren’s perspective while he is committing the Rumbling.
Here, he admits that when he found out people were outside the walls he was disappointed.
This reveals some selfish motivations behind the Rumbling that make Eren a much darker character than first thought.
Even creepier is the double page spread where Eren is in child form and cries out happily that, “this is freedom.”
This panel is easily one of the best in the entire manga because of how chilling it is.
What makes it darker is that if someone saw this image without context they would think it was wholesome moment and not the horrifying panel that it is.
The following images of more people succumbing to Eren’s genocide in between this horrific panel is gut wrenching.
This all combines to make the Rumbling feel like the Third Impact from The End of Evangelion. 
There’s even a moment that seems to be directly inspired by that film because, when Ramzi is being crushed, he sees Ymir, just like all the people who died during the Third Impact saw Rei.
What this means is anyone’s guess but it sure will be interesting to find out.
However, although most of this chapter is horror and despair, there is actually a surprisingly wholesome moment, made even more surprising that it is a ship scene.
But not Eremika or Erehisu, no, this time it is Aruani, Armin and Annie.
Isayama pretty much confirmed that Armin has a crush on Annie and highly implied that Annie returned some of those feelings.
It was a happy moment that brought some levity to an otherwise horrifying chapter.
Armin also admitting that, like Annie, he is a monster too was great for his character, and the moment where a child Eren talks to him in Paths makes me think he is going to have a big role to play soon, which I am excited for.
However, I am also scared as well because Armin and Annie seeming to have a romantic connection now spells out massive death flags for Annie.
Well, at least I’m sure she won’t die until the final confrontation with Eren.
Speaking of, the last panel of the chapter shows Eren, who is seemingly sleeping in his monstrous Titan form.
Only thing is that his head appears to be attached to his body by his exposed spine.
Such a grizzly sight makes me wonder if Eren can even heal from this once he finishes.
Either way though, it will be interesting to see how Attack on Titan finally ends, especially with Eren’s genocide now in full swing.
“Rumbling” is another top ten Attack on Titan chapter with grizzly images that are horrifying but ones that we needed to see to understand the consequences of Eren’s actions.