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.

The Promised Neverland Manga Review: Basically Tokyo Ghoul Quality vs Tokyo Ghoul: Re Quality.

4 stars
I recently rewatched the first season of The Promised Neverland and was amazed by it.
I had honestly forgot how incredible of an anime it was.
So, knowing that the second season had been delayed to 2021 because of Covid-19, I decided to read the manga in its entirety.
After reading it, the best way I can describe it is Tokyo Ghoul quality vs Tokyo Ghoul: Re quality.
Essentially, the first half of the manga is fantastic, just like Tokyo Ghoul, while the second half is still good but it does have a lot of problems, just like Tokyo Ghoul: Re, creating an experience that is, overall, still a lot of fun to read.
Written by Kaiu Shirai and illustrated by Posuka Demizu, The Promised Neverland follows children Emma, Norman and Ray who learn that the orphanage they live on is in reality a farm made to provide food for demons.
They, and the other children, then plan to escape and embark into the world of demons, a world that contains many friends and many foes.
As I said, the first half of The Promised Neverland is absolutely fantastic, with many great twists and characters to cheer for.
As if the characters from the first season like Emma, Norman, Ray, Isabella and Phil weren’t already amazing enough, the manga offers many more interesting characters like Mujika, Yuugo and Lucas.
Yugo and Lucas in particular are great additions to the cast and probably tied for my favourite characters in the entire story.

yuggo
Yugo is an amazing character and the conclusion to him and Lucas’ arc are fantastic, even if I do wish this conclusion had come later on in the story.

As for the old characters, they are just as great, with Emma standing out as a fantastic protagonist, especially in the Goldy Pond Arc.
Speaking of, Gondy Pond is definitely my favourite arc of the manga with it providing a lot of awesome fights, tension and character development.
The villain of that arc, Leuvis, is also just as intimidating as Isabella and Sister Krone were in the first season.
Unfortunately, this continued fantastic quality does not last as the story begins to have more and more flaws as it enters its second half.
One of these big flaws is character immunity.
It became quite clear towards the final stages of the story which characters were safe and which were not.
For a series that started off with the “anyone can die” mentality, it sure pulled a lot of punches by the end in regards to character deaths.

goldy pond
Although my favourite storyline is the Goldy Pond Arc, I can admit that this is the arc where it became clear that almost every character had plot armour.

Another problem is those characters themselves or, more specifically, the amount of them.
There are so many characters that a lot of them don’t get the screen time they deserved.
Norman, Isabella and Phil are missing from huge chunks of the story and Ray becomes kind of a stagnant character.
The worst example of wasted character potential though definitely goes to Ayshe.
She is introduced in the last few arcs of The Promised Neverland and is given a fantastic backstory and motivation that looks set to put her on a revenge path that will cause her to conflict with some of our main characters.
However, after this backstory is revealed, she never does anything.
All of that fantastic build up the reveal of her past had turned out to be for nothing and made wonder why she was introduced in the first place.

ayshe
Ayshe could have been a fantastic character if her backstory had actually been expanded upon.

There was also a complete deus ex machina towards the end that was very off putting.
As for the ending of the story, a lot of people have problems with it and, while I think those are valid, I still liked the ending and it did get me tearing up.
Which reminds me, I cried quite a few times when reading this manga.
Whenever the story ignored characters absurd plot armor and finally killed someone it almost always got a tear out of me.
So, I can definitely say that the good far outweighs the bad.
While the second half does have a lot of problems, The Promised Neverland is still a great manga that delivers a lot of emotional moments.

Pom Poko Review: Studio Ghibli’s Weirdest Film?

3 and a half stars
Imagine that you’re on Netflix and then an ad for a Studio Ghibli movie pops up.
You’re intrigued so you watch and see a police officer comforting a crying woman… only for her face to disappear.
As the police officer runs away from the faceless woman, she begins to follow him on a bike until he fires his gun into the air in terror, frightening the woman and turning her into… a raccoon?
Well, after seeing this bizarre ad, I knew I had to watch Isao Takahata’s 1993 film Pom Poko. 
Now that I have watched it, I can definitely say that it is Studio Ghibli’s weirdest film by a wide margin.
Pom Poko follows a group of shape shifting raccoons voiced by Makoto Nonomura, Shigeru Izumiya, Nijiko Kiyokawa, Kosan Yanagiya and many others.
These raccoons are trying to stop their homes being destroyed by invading humans at any cost, including eco-terrorism, putting on a parade to scare the humans, and inflating their testicles to attack… wait, what?

balls attack
I expected some strange things going into Pom Poko but not attack by testicle inflation.

Seriously though, if you think the testicles technique is the weirdest thing this movie can come up with your mistaken.
Pom Poko has so many outlandish concepts and throughout the film I honestly wasn’t sure if I was liking what was happening or not.
I did go from disliking the raccoons to actually sympathizing with them by the end though, but I wasn’t incredibly attached to any of them.
One thing I can say that I really enjoyed was the creativity with the raccoons shape shifting abilities, which is on full display during the parade scene.
You can see that the writers and animators just let their imaginations go wild during here and it’s really enjoyable.

parade
The parade scene is the best scene in the movie because of how creative it is.

Like most Studio Ghibli films, it also contains an environmentalist message that is well handled, especially with one act the raccoons take at the end.
Although, I will say that there are some plot points that don’t really go anywhere and the movie does feel a bit too long.
All of that said, Pom Poko is still an enjoyable film, despite its low points, with scene after scene of weird concepts.
It is definitely worth seeing for that weirdness factor alone.

 

Attack on Titan Chapter 131 Predictions.

Chapter 130 of Attack on Titan, “Dawn for Humanity” was a fantastic chapter that finally showed off the full horror of the Rumbling.
There were numerous glorious double page spreads of Eren’s attack, making me wonder how the hell the alliance is even supposed to beat him and where exactly they go from here.
Well, this is what predictions posts are for and I will kick off my predictions for Chapter 131 with the question,

Will Annie Stay With the Alliance?

“Dawn for Humanity” began with Annie confronting Hange about the decision to go to Odiha, meaning that they couldn’t save Liberio and that her father was likely killed.
Annie then says she plans to leave the alliance because there is now no reason for her to fight and she doesn’t want to have to kill Eren or the scouts if it comes down to it.
So, the question is how is Annie going to be convinced to stay and help the alliance?
Hajime Isayama wouldn’t have brought her back just to have her leave again.
It would seem like Annie is due for a little pep talk but who will dispense it?
Well, given how Mikasa seems to connect with what Annie is saying emotionally in the chapter, she might be able to convince her.
Then there are Reiner and Armin, both of whom feel a little overdue for a one on one conversation with Annie, given their past history.
I expect Annie may be a big part of the next chapter as she struggles with the decision whether to stay with the alliance now that her father is dead.
Or is he?

What Happened to the Eldians in Liberio?

The last we saw of the Eldians in the Liberio Internment Zone, Annie’s father was beginning to lead a revolt after their Marleyan captors refused to listen to their warnings about the oncoming Rumbling.
However, shots were fired leaving the fates of many of those Eldians unknown.
Annie’s father and Reiner’s mother were right at the front of that group with Mr Leonhart wrestling with the gun of one of the soldiers.
Do I think they’re all dead though?
No, Isayama would probably have shown it if they were.
I’m pretty sure some of them made it and will have fled Liberio in an effort to escape the Rumbling.
Maybe they fled to Odiha and will meet up with the alliance?
Although, that does feel a little too coincidental.
Either way, I expect we will get a resolution to Annie’s story with her father, whether that ends happily or tragically.

When Will the Alliance Reach Eren?

Chapter 130 ended with Eren’s monstrous Titan form finally being revealed as his genocide reached Marley’s shores.
By the time the alliance reaches him he will already have killed thousands of people, possibly millions.
So, every second counts for the alliance in reaching Eren but even when they reach Odiha, they will still have half a day to get the plane ready, which Kiyomi said was a gamble itself.
Given this, it seems like there will be a few more chapters before the alliance finally confronts Eren.
This also depends on whether Floch survived and is about to make his move, if Kiyomi will reveal something (I will get to that later), and if Yelena will even lead them in the right direction.
Speaking of which,

Where is Eren Going?

If Yelena does decide to lead the alliance to Eren, where exactly would that be?
Isayama has been implying with Magath’s earlier questions to Yelena that Eren has a specific place to go in mind.
The only places we know in Marley is Liberio and Odiha but Liberio is probably in the process of being destroyed and I doubt Isayama would have the place the alliance is going coincidentally be the place Eren is going to as well.
No, I think Eren has a very different location in mind.
I suspect that he is actually going to the location of the giant tree where Ymir first gained her power from the source of all living matter.
There, Eren may attempt to do something, like remove the Eldians’ ability to transform into Titans.
We may also get more of an idea of what exactly this source of all living matter that gave Ymir her powers is.
Ending the story where it all began would be emotionally fitting.

What’s the Deal With the Fez Kid?

The fez kid that was first hinted at in Chapter 120 and then finally introduced in Chapter 123 made a brief reappearance in Chapter 130.
He was in a memory shard of Eren’s where it looked like he was being attacked by three Marleyans in an alley.
So, Eren definitely encountered him while he was hiding in Marley making me wonder how exactly this kid factors into Eren’s mindset.
He is clearly important since his memory shard was one of the biggest in Chapter 120, and Eren seems to have experienced some future memory of him because he tells Mikasa that nothing bad has happened to him “yet” in Chapter 123.
This could have a number of meanings.
Maybe Eren witnesses the fez kid being murdered because of his race, which only makes him more determined to kill everyone outside the walls.
Or maybe he saves the fez kid from the men attacking him, only he knows that he will end up killing him in the Rumbling.
Knowing Isayama though, whatever purpose the fez kid holds, I will honestly be surprised if his story doesn’t end in tragedy.
Either way, he is clearly important to Eren’s perspective so I think we can expect him to be an important part of the final chapters.

Could Ymir Have Left a Secret Code in Her Message?

I was rewatching Season Three Part Two recently and got to the part where Historia reads Ymir’s letter.
During this scene, Jean asks Historia if there’s a possibility that Ymir left a secret code.
Historia dismisses this but in a comedy chibi skit that is on the DVD Ymir does leave a message.
Now, this message is “marry me” so this was obviously for comedy but it does make me wonder if Ymir actually did leave a secret code for Historia to uncover.
Keep in mind, she was the first character in the main cast to reach the Paths Dimension, going there even before Eren and Zeke.
So, it stands to reason that she may have met the original Ymir there and even learnt something and left that in a secret code for Historia to find.
What this could be and the relevance it will have I don’t know.
All of that said, I’m probably reaching here.
I’m basically just blindly hoping that Isayama will throw us Ymir fans a bone before the series’ ends and give us some content with her.

The Kiyomi, Kruger and Ksaver Theory.

I’ve talked about this theory before in other predictions posts but I wanted to go more in depth here.
Ever since Kiyomi was introduced I have wondered what exactly her point is in the story.
Sure, she provides the plane that the alliance will use to reach Eren but she has to have more of a point than that, especially with her connection to Mikasa.
Now that Kiyomi is actually with the alliance and traveling with them to Odiha I think now would be the perfect time to reveal her importance, which I think may be a connection to Kruger and Ksaver.
This is basically combing the theories that the “See you later, Eren” memory seen at the beginning of the story is actually Kiyomi talking to Kruger and not Mikasa talking to Eren, and that the doctor who helped Kruger was actually Ksaver.
We know Kiyomi’s family had close connections to the Eldian Empire before its fall so they would not have benefited from Marley’s rise to power.
As a result, they may have supported some underground Eldian rebellions, like that of Kruger’s family.
Kruger says that when his family was killed he was rescued by his father’s friends.
What if these friends were Kiyomi’s family?
So, Kruger stays with them in secret and then meets Ksaver who helps him falsify his blood tests to pose as a Marleyan and infiltrate the military.
Kruger, Kiyomi and Ksaver then begin working on a secret plan to overthrow Marley based on Kruger’s future memories as the Attack Titan.
He probably then tells the two of them about Mikasa and Zeke and gives them specific roles around these two.
He tells Kiyomi to watch over and protect Mikasa because of her importance, which she does under the pretense that she is only doing so because of her heritage.
Next, he tells Ksaver to watch over Zeke and pass on his Beast Titan to him because this is needed to activate the Rumbling.
Not only this but he also instructs Ksaver to allow Zeke to find his own mindset and support it, which is why Ksaver is encouraging of Zeke’s euthanasia plan even if he doesn’t agree with it.
So, I believe that Kruger, Kiyomi and Ksaver were all working behind the scenes to orchestrate these events
Although, this is probably more far fetched that the Ymir hiding a secret code theory.
You never know though.
I guess we’ll have to wait to find out.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection Review: A Mixed Bag Just Like the Show.

3 stars
I have mixed feelings about Code Geass. 
On the one hand it has instances of brilliant writing, on the other hand it has instances of pretty terrible writing.
That said, it does have an incredible ending that makes a follow up extremely difficult to pull off.
In order to solve this problem, director Gorō Taniguchi decided to set this story in an alternate universe with a few minor changes to the original story… with mixed results as expected.

lelouch meboy
The film has as many positives as it does negatives, just like the original anime.

Lelouch of the Re;surrection is set one year after Lelouch’s sacrifice during the Zero Requiem.
A revived Lelouch (Japanese Jun Fukuyama, English Johnny Yong Bosh) is under the care of C.C (Yukana and Kate Higgins) when his sister Nunnally (Kaori Nazuka and Rebecca Forstadt) and good friend Suzaku (Takahiro Sakura and Yuri Lowenthal) are kidnapped by the enemy nation of Zilkhistan.
Now C.C and the Black Knights must find a way to bring Lelouch back to his former self so he can rescue the two and defeat Zilkhistan.
The film is well voice acted, animated and scored, with some great action sequences throughout.
Along with this, the writing is occasionally great just like how it is occasionally great in the show.
Lelouch and C.C are definitely the highlights, with their relationship having a fantastic arc that ended the film well.

CC
The way Lelouch of the Re;surrection ends with Lelouch and C.C’s relationship is genuinely touching.

It was a lot of fun to see the man of miracles at work again, defeating his enemies using his brilliant tactics.
In particular, one prison sequence where Lelouch got to show off his skills is a terrifically fun sequence.
And then there’s the villains of the film who, while they are not really interesting characters, do have an interesting motivation.
Their actions show the consequences of the Zero Requiem in a way that was believable and understandable.
Although, this does undermine the authenticity of the original ending somewhat.
Unfortunately, the issues of Lelouch of the Re;surrection don’t end there.
For starters, the changes to this story with the alternate universe don’t really have a point.
Take Shirley (Fumiko Orikasa and Amy Kincaid) for example.
She is brought back to life and the reason for this was so that she could sneak Lelouch’s body to C.C but this doesn’t really make any sense considering Shirley didn’t know C.C beforehand and she doesn’t have the skills to smuggle Lelouch’s body out.

Shirley
It felt like Shirley was kept alive just because the writer wanted her to be rather than there being a legitimate reason.

Not only this but a lot of the characters seem to forget Lelouch’s actions in the parts of the original story that are still canon.
Cornelia, weirdly enough, seems to be not as angry about Lelouch, you know, using his Geass on her sister Euphemia and then killing her.
Also, Oghi does something in this film that comes out of nowhere and feels really out of character.
And then there’s the problems with the original series that is carried over, chief among these being fan service.
Now, there is nothing wrong with fan service but does it have to come during these big emotional moments.
I can’t get invested in a scene where C.C encourages Lelouch during a dire moment if the shot spends so much time focusing on her private parts.
It makes these scenes comical rather than emotional.
Still, despite these problems, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection is a good film.
It does have occasional moments of brilliance, even if they are bogged down by problems, both old ones from the original show and new ones entirely.