Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review: Sam Raimi’s Horror Style Works Well in the MCU.

Despite it not being among my favourite MCU films, I still have fond memories of watching the first Dr Strange, so I was excited to see the sequel.
Directed by Sam Raimi, Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sees the titular hero sorcerer, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, become the protector of a teenage girl named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has the ability to traverse the Multiverse.
Pursued by various monsters from other dimensions, Strange and the Sorceror Supreme, Wong (Benedict Wong), seek the help of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), her story continuing from WandaVision. 
I have heard some say that Wanda’s story in this film does not match her’s from the show but, having never seen WandaVision, I cannot attest to whether or not this is the case.
What I can attest to is that those who have not seen WandaVision will still be able to understand what is going on with her story, since I could understand it despite not having seen the show. 

I quite enjoyed Wanda’s arc in this movie, though I have heard some who have seen WandaVision may have mixed feelings.

Back to the film as a whole, I quite enjoyed Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
It certainly has its issues but I found a lot of it to be quite good, especially the character writing for Strange.
His character arc in this movie is great and pairs off well with the wacky direction of Raimi, whose depiction of the Multiverse results in numerous interesting locations and new characters, some of which you will recognize from other franchises.
Another part of Raimi’s direction that goes well with this story, for the most part, is his skill in horror.

The horror moments of Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are quite effective, at times.

Raimi is the director of the Evil Dead, after all, and you can definitley see homages to that film in this movie.
These homages often work out well, with one gruesome and creative twist in the third act being very enjoyable to watch play out.

However, there were certain times this horror style did not work for me, like one jump scare that was so overplayed to the point that it broke my immersion.
Another criticism I have is that I felt like the pacing was a little off at times, with a few scenes that needed just a little more room to breathe.

I do feel that some scenes, although impactful, went a little fast

As for the post-credits scenes, the first one we get really proved to me that I’m going to have to start looking up every teased new character in MCU films going forward because I often have no idea who these new characters are.
That’s not a criticism, though, just an observation.
Overall, Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is another fun film in the MCU.
It has great character arcs for Dr Strange and Wanda (unless you think her arc does not match Wandavision), and Sam Raimi’s horror style works well with the Multiverse.
It will be interesting to see how the MCU follows up on these alternate universes going forward.   

Spy x Family, Episode Five, Will They Pass or Will They Fail? Review: The Perfect Filler.

Filler episodes: The kind of episode that many people will not be excited to watch.
These are ones that could usually be removed from the story entirely, changing nothing in doing so, often making them less than stellar experiences.
However, occasionally, there will be one filler episode that gets it right and delivers a satisfying and engaging experience, despite not being relevant to the plot.
Well, I think that the fifth episode of Spy x Family, “Will They Pass or Will They Fail?” is the perfect filler episode.
What makes it truly great, though, is not just how satisying it is but how it also excellently makes changes to the manga.
The castle party was relatively brief and small scale in the manga, yet the anime crafts a wholesome adventure for the Forger family to have after they learn Anya has been accepted into Eden College.
Directed by Kenji Takahasi, the episode opens with the build up to Anya’s acceptance, as we see the Forgers heading to see the results, only for Yor’s braclet to break, after which they see a black cat, and then Anya notices she has stepped in poop.
These bad signs seem to foreshadow the family’s downfall, as the cliffhanger before the OP shows the Forgers realizing they have not passed the admission, only for Henderson to explain the circumstances to them afterwards.
It turns out that Anya is just on the waiting list, so she is on the verge of being accepted.
Twilight is confused that they passed after he smashed a table in front of Swan, however Henderson humorously reveals he was scored highly for that because he smashed a mosquito as well, since mosquitos are the most dangerous creature on the planet to humans.
So now, all Anya needs is one of the students to withdraw and she will be accepted into the College.
Cue Yor briefly wondering if she should murder one of the student’s parents to get Anya into the College, before immediately dismissing this as she couldn’t possibly kill an innocent person.
This gag does result in another characteristically comedic expression from Anya, though.
After this, the Forgers don’t have to wait long before they learn Anya was accepted, resulting in a crazy celebration, spearheaded by good old Franky.
All of this craziness starts with him and Yor getting so drunk to the point that Yor doesn’t hear Franky admit to stealing the answers to the exam for Loid to teach Anya, eventually building to Franky telling Anya that Twilight said he would give her anything for getting accepted.
What Anya wants, it turns out, is to recreate her favourite spy show, Bondman, by having Twilight rescue her from a castle.
Twilight is reluctant until Franky guilt trips him into doing it, resulting in the excellent filler portion of the show, with the familt renting the castle and flying in, before Twilight calls many of his spy associates to help with this “mission,” many of whom are excited to learn from him.
Anya and Franky then enact their plan to stage a Bondman experience for Anya, with Anya being the princess kidnapped by the evil Franky, who Twilight needs to save as Loidman, while Yor is “whatever” according to Anya.
The game begins with Loidman tracking Anya and Franky down to a quiz section where he has to answer three questions about Anya.
If he loses, he has to put on the Loidman mask.
Loid fails in the end, quite comedically as he is outraged that he lost because he didn’t realize Anya wanted a drink of water.
So now Twilight has to wear the Loidman costume, much to his embarrassment.
But at least it results in Anya adorably declaring how excited she is to see her father portray her favourite television spy.
With moments like this, it’s pretty apparent we will be losing count of how many adorable and memeable moments of Anya there are in this anime.
Next comes a well animated action sequence of Loidman fighting through his fellow spies to reach Anya and Franky, with a pretty great OST playing alongside this animation.
However, the game is not over when Loidman reaches the Princess Anya because the most powerful witch in the world, Yorticia (drunk Yor), is here to kick Loidman’s butt!
Seeing their little fight was great, as it made me excited for what we might get if Twilight and Yor were ever to come to blows in the future of the story.
The fight also ends with a laugh, as Yor’s heel breaks, causing her to pass out drunk, leaving Twilight to deal with Franky.
How will he ever overcome such an evil foe?
Well, with a simple slap obviously, cause Franky isn’t a fighter.
In the end, Loidman rescues the Princess Anya, resulting in Anya promising him that she will work hard at school, bringing an end to this filler part of the story.
And what amazing filler it was.
Seriously, if you have not read the manga, then I recommend reading Chapter Six to see just how much they added in this episode.
Pretty much everything from the moment the game started up until Twilight reached Anya, Yor and Franky was anime original.
Even the final scene is different from the manga, with the humor of Twilight’s boss realizing how much money was spent on this “mission” being delivered a lot better, in my opinion.
Overall, I would say that “Will They Pass or Will They Fail?” is probably my favourite episode of Spy x Family so far because of how much fun it was with all of the new content.
Wit Studio and Cloverworks are clearly putting everything they have into this adaptation and it makes me even more excited for future episodes, especially the next one where we will get the ultimate Anya meme face.
So, get ready for the “heh” next episode.

Choujin X, Chapter 21, A Cloaker Review: Antagonist Payoff.

Ever since the first Chapter of Choujin X, readers have been wondering what role Azuma would have in the story, with many, including myself, theorizing that he would go on to become an antagonist.
Well, Chapter 21, “A Cloaker”, seems to have confirmed this theory.
I have not reviewed many of recent Choujin X chapters but I have really enjoyed them, as it felt like something big was coming, what with Tokio’s kidnapping by Ume and Ricardo, followed by Azuma’s brutal death at Ume’s hands.
However, I and many others did not believe Azuma was dead because he had been built up quite a bit beforehand, and had seemingly awakened some of his Choujin abilities, what with the escaped Hyena being able to talk with him.
Sure enough, “A Cloaker” begins with Azuma’s resurrection, as his Choujin power finally acitvates, and in the most horrifying way, at that.
This resurrection appears from a dying Azuma’s POV, as we see a statue looking down on him, presenting its hands, almost as if it is gifting him his Choujin power.
Along with this religiously symbolic image, we also see a fly coming down to land on Azuma’s eyelid and walk across it, reminding Azuma of a time when he saw jets flying in the sky as a child.
While this is happening, we get narration from an unknown person explaining that Choujin are given the form that most becomes them, often based off their emotions and feelings, like that of hope, fury, love, etc.
This creates a complex, which Azuma was apparently lacking up until this point because he could not become a Choujin without it.
Now, however, as the dying Azuma looks up at the moon, he gains this complex, allowing him to transform into the titular Moon Beast we saw at the end of the previous chapter.
So, great, Azuma is here to help save Tokio, right?
Well, not exactly.
He certainly starts off doing so by brutally dispatching Ricardo and Ume, decapitating Ricardo, and kicking Ume in the back so hard that his foot ejects out of her chest.
The reason Azuma so easily defeats these two is explained by the narrator to be because his fighting strength was already strong before he become a Choujin, so it has been amplified.
Ely realizes the Moon Beast is Azuma, yet, before she can do anything, Azuma is upon her, punching through her stomach, even though she is trying to help Tokio.
At this point, Tokio and Azuma seem to notice one another, and Azuma is shown to be baring his teeth towards Tokio in a look of surprising hatred.
Azuma easily beats Tokio aside when he tries to help Ely, and breaks Momoma’s neck and slices Simon’s throat when they try to stop him as well.
With Tokio being the last man standing, Azuma then turns to him and speaks his first words as a Choujin: “Tokio… Fight… Me.”
The chapter then ends on Tokio’s horrified, “why?”, which, in my opinion, is Tokio asking both why Azuma would hurt all of his friends and why Azuma wants to fight him.
As for the answer to the latter, I think it is because Azuma has an inferiority complex directed towards Tokio.
For so long, Tokio had relied on Azuma for almost everything, yet he was the one to become a Choujin first and do heroic acts.
With Azuma’s penchant for fighting for justice, this may have caused him to feel inferior to Tokio, leading to him entering a chaos state when he first transformed, much like Shiozaki, resulting in him attacking everyone and wanting to fight Tokio to prove himself.
My question, though, is why Azuma was able to speak with the Hyena a couple of chapters ago?
Beast Choujins are able to talk to the animals that their transformations are based off.
So, Tokio can talk to birds as a Vulture Choujin and Nari can talk to snakes as a Snake Choujin.
Given that Azuma could talk to the Hyena, I thought that meant he would turn into a Hyena Choujin but he has instead transformed into a Moon Beast.
This makes sense because Azuma was looking up at the moon when he resurrected and transformed but I still wonder how he was able to talk with the Hyena?
Hopefully, this will be explained in a future chapter.
Another obvious question I am sure all of us readers have after finishing this chapter is how many of the characters have died at Azuma’s hands?
I am sure all of our main characters who were injured will survive, these being Ely, Simon, and Momoma.
Ume and Ricardo, however, are another matter.
Ume looked quite dead when Azuma kicked her off the roof, yet Azuma also looked dead and he was just resurrected.
Also, Ricardo was decapitated but in one panel it looks like he is groaning, so he may make it out.
Honestly, I hope the both of them do survive, along with our main characters because I quite like them as antagonists.
As for how the fight between Tokio and Azuma will go, I honestly don’t see Tokio winning.
Azuma just straight up massacred dozens of other Choujins who are stronger than Tokio at this point.
The fight might be interrupted by the Noh Mask Choujin, though, who may see Azuma as a better candidate than Tokio for what the monster in the tower has planned.
Either way, the future chapters of Choujin X will be quite interesting, since Azuma has apparently emerged as an antagonist, like many of us predicted.
Overall, “A Cloaker” is one of the best chapters of the manga so far, and I am extremely interested to see where Sui Ishida takes his story next.

Spy x Family, Episode Four, The Prestigious School’s Interview Review: An Elegant Episode.

After the previous episode of Spy x Family dabbled in some anime original moments, the series is back to solely adapting the manga in its fourth episode, “The Prestigious School’s Interview.”
Directed by Kento Matsui, this episode begins with a characteristically humorous moment of the Forger family preparing for the interview at Eden College, with Twilight acting like a military general prepping his soldiers.
Although funny, this also turns out to be necessary because the College instructors are monitering all of the child applicants and their parents as they enter the grounds, failing any potential student for so little as lacking refinement.
The architect of this passing requirement seems to be one of the House Masters named Henry Henderson, a man obsessed with elegance.
Thankfully for Twilight, he apprears to have taught Yor and Anya well in elegance, as they all pay respect to the college’s founder, although Yor has no idea who the man is and Anya just thinks of him as a bald man.
Although impressed by this display, Henderson is suspicious of Anya’s low test score and her appalling handwriting, wondering if the Forgers could be an impromptu family, deciding to test them futher.
This first test comes in the form of a student faking being stuck in a gutter, to which Twilight responds by pulling him out, getting his clothing dirty.
Henderson is unimpressed, until Twilight reveals he brought spare clothing in preperation for such an event.
However, further testing is interrupted by an actual accident, when the farm animals escape, causing Yor to leap forward and pacify the leader of the stampeding herd, stunning Twilight, Anya, and especially Henderson, who seems to be having an elegance hemorrhage.
He runs out to thank the Forgers for their efforts, seeming to have grown a little as well, since he now gives them the time to go and change their clothes, only to be a little frightened when Twilight reveals they brought a third pair of clothing with them in preperation.
Then comes the actual interview with the House Masters, Henderson, the kind Malcolm Hall, and the vile Murdoch Swan, a man who berates the child applicants and their parents because of his own family troubles.
Despite Swan’s efforts to undermine the family, the Forgers do well, quite hilariously at times, like the moment when Twilight thinks Anya has screwed up only for Henderson to be blown away by what he views as her dedication.
The interview even turns wholesome when Anya scores her new parents a perfect 100 points, declaring she wants to be with them forever.
Of course, Swan has to ruin this moment by trying to force Anya to compare Yor to her previous mother, causing Anya to cry and Twilight to almost blow the interview by leaping at Swan in a rage, covering this up by smashing a mosquito… along with the table.
Twilight then leaves with his family, stating the perfect insult to Swan, “If making light of a child’s feelings is part of you establishment’s educational policies, then I’m afraid we have chosen the wrong school.”
This also strikes a cord with Henderson, who elegantly decks Swan for his actions.
It is nice to see how Henderson grew throughout his introduction, initially seeming to be as cruel as Swan, only for the Forgers to make him realize what being an educator is about.
Back at the Forger household, things are looking grim, as Twilight believes they have little hope of passing the interview and Anya is distraught at the thought of losing her new family.
However, the family quickly put these bad thoughts aside to focus on the positives, like Henderson and Hall looking out for them, with Twilight also growing as a person, since trusting in someone else is not something he would do in his regular line of work as a spy.
Yet, their family photo does fall at the end, so that’s a bad sign.
Overall, “The Prestigous School’s Interview” is another great episode of Spy x Family, delivering many wholesome moments between the family, plenty of funny gags, and good development for its characters, old and new.
It is truly an elegant episode.

Spy x Family, Episode Three, Prepare for the Interview Review: A Family Ooting.

I was quite interested to see how the third episode of Spy x Family would turn out, since the preview showed there would be some anime original scenes.
Directed by Takashi Kataragi, Episode Three, “Prepare for the Interview” begins with such a scene, as Yor is welcomed to her new home by Twilight and Anya.
This is then followed up by another wholesome anime original section, as Anya shows Yor around the place, including adorable moments, like when Anya pretends to be her toy greeting Yor, and great gags, like when Yor stops Anya from touching her stash of poison.
The funniest anime original gag of the scene, though, is the two moments when Anya claims to have helped, looking for approval, only for Twilight to reveal how Anya failed to help both times, causing Anya to give some of her classic mortified faces.
Afterwards, we get back to the adaptation of the manga, with Twilight running a practice interview for Yor and Anya, which goes about as poorly as expected, especially for Yor, who equates passing the interview with the passing of her victims, much to Anya’s comedic horror.
Hoping to give the two an experience of what it is like to be a cultured family, Twilight then takes them out on what Anya calls “an ooting.”
The adorable telepath then attempts to get closer to her new mama, offering to hold Yor’s hand, only for her to read Yor’s mind and hear how she accidentally broke her brother’s ribs once because she hugged him too hard.
Cue yet another humorous horrified expression from Anya as she runs to hide, before Twilight takes them all to various cultured places.
There’s the opera, where Anya falls asleep and Yor looks rather distressed, and an art museum, where Anya yells out that she can see a woman’s boobies in a painting and Yor is excited by a painting of an execution, much to Twilight’s dismay.
The Forgers’ next two stops are the tailor and a photography shop where they get an awkward family photo, before eventually stopping at a restaurant, where Anya eats with her hands and Yor is fascinated by a knife, once again scaring Twilight into thinking he may have picked the wrong family.
Wanting to cheer Twilight up, Yor takes him and Anya to a spot overlooking the city with a great view.
This has a much more melancholic effect on Twilight, however, as he looks at a group of children playing with a sad expression on his face, a moment that may not mean much to anime only watchers but, for the readers of the most recent manga chapter, takes on a much more unfortunate meaning.
Twilight does not have time to dwell on this, however, because down below a thief steals an elderly woman’s purse and the newfound family work togethor to catch him, because what family ooting is complete without bringing a criminal to justice, am I right?
While Yor initially gives chase and then helps the elderly woman, Anya manages to find the thief by reading his mind and pointing him out to Twilight without the spy realizing it.
Twilight then takes down the thief and retrieves the elderly woman’s purse, who thanks him and Yor by agressively shaking their hands, a display which makes Twilight happy, as it is probably the first moment he has ever been thanked for his efforts, since spying is naturally a mostly thankless task.
Twilight then goes on to thank Yor for changing the pace of the day, causing the two to blush and Anya to speculate that the two are flirting, earning a shocked display from both would-be parents, who deny this wholeheartedly.
Upon arriving home, Twilight again tests Anya, which goes well at first, until Anya recalls Twilight beating up the thief he caught.
However, Twilight takes some comfort in the fact that the elderly woman they helped clearly saw him, Yor and Anya as a happy family, which is key to his mission, bringing an end to the episode with the start of the ED.
This ED is “Comedy” by Gen Hoshino, and it is just as good as the OP, presenting a pleasant feel-good vibe.
“Prepare for the Interview” is another enjoyable Spy x Family episode, with some great anime only additions, which do not feel out of place at all.
This episode also does a good job of building into the next one, with the actual interview and the introduction of a certain elegant character.

Goodbye Eri Review: Blurring the Line Between Fact and Fiction.

Tatsuki Fujimoto has had a stellar career as a mangaka.
Chainsaw Man is my second favourite manga behind Attack on Titan and his one shot Look Back is an emotional rollercoaster.
I have also just started reading his first serialized manga, Fire Punch, which so far is already turning out to be one of the most insane manga I have read.
Well, Fujimoto recently released a new one shot Goodbye Eri, which, at first, looked like it was going to be a simple, emotional story, much like Look Back, before the story goes completley off the rails and explodes.
Ordinarily, me saying that would be a way of me dissing this story but no, this time I mean it as a compliment.
It leaves a lot up to the reader and this is what makes it so great.
Goodbye Eri begins at the 12th Birthday of Yuta, who’s parents have bought him a smart phone.
This pleasant Birthday gift quickly turns grim, however, as it is revealed that Yuta’s mother is dying from a terminal illness and she bought Yuta the smart phone to film her life all the way up to her final moments.
One bit of foreshadowing for what will be revealed about Yuta’s mother can be seen with the dad’s reaction to her request: how he looks between his wife and son, as if he wants to say something but then stops himself.
From here, the one shot proceeds pretty expectantly, with Yuta filming his mother’s life, their time togethor, and her degrading health.
Eventually, Yuta’s mother is dying in the hostpital, so his father takes him to film her final moments.
However, at the last second, Yuta gets cold feet and runs away from the hostpital as it suddenly explodes, leaving Yuta’s fellow students who are watching his movie in a state of shock.
Yep, Yuta created a film of his mother’s struggle with her terminal illness, only to add an explosion at the end, as if it was supposed to be an action movie.
His school mates take it about how you would expect, with many condemning and laughing at the movie.
One of Yuta’s teachers even pulls him aside to tell him off for “making a mockery” of his mother’s death with the explosion.
Yuta’s only response?
“That was awesome right?”
The teacher naturally does not take this well.
Yuta then interviews a bunch of other students about his movie, all of which criticize him for it, most potently one girl whose mother also died, who says she can’t forgive Yuta for adding the explosion at the end.
All of this leads to Yuta deciding to commit suicide, heading to the roof of the hostpital where his mother’s died to leap from it.
However, before he can, he is interrupted by a girl named Eri, who recognises him as the director of Dead Explosion Mother, and drags him to an abandoned building where she watches some movies with him.
Afterwards, the two talk, and Eri is the first person who speaks positively of Yuta’s movie, saying that she liked, “the way it blurred the line between fact and fiction,” something that will be very important later.
Eri goes on to state that Yuta’s movie was awesome and convinces him that he should make another movie next year to make everyone who laughed at his previous movie cry.
From here, we see the progression of Eri and Yuta’s friendship, just like we saw the progression of Yuta’s mother’s illness, only instead of the illness building, it’s the two friends watching movies togethor and making plans for Yuta’s next film.
There are multiple great moments of humor spliced in here, like when Eri pulls a peace sign whenever the heroes win and Yuta says “aww yeah,” every time there are nipples on screen.
We also get another key moment, this time between Yuta and his father, where the dad says that Yuta has always “sprinkled a pinch of fantasy on everything,” which explains part of the reason why Yuta added the explosion when his mother died in his original movie.
After this conversation, Yuta meets with Eri again and pitches her his new movie about himself meeting a dying vampire (Eri) after his movie is criticized.
Like his mother, the vampire is also dying, and the main character has to film her death to overcome the death of his mother.
Eri agrees to this film being the one Yuta will make and the conversation concludes with Yuta asking Eri to meet his father.
However, this meeting does not go over well because Yuta’s father is angry that they are making a movie, thinking it will hurt Yuta more, yelling at Eri to get out.
“And cut!” Eri cries out, revealing this argument to have been a part of their movie, since Yuta’s father has prior theater experience.
Then we get an interesting line from Yuta’s father, “To quote a friend of mine… creation is all about getting into the audience’s problems to make them laugh and cry, right? Well it wouldn’t be fair if the creator’s didn’t get hurt too, would it?”
The three of them then agree to reshoot the scene with that line in it.
I think this line may be a moment of Fujimoto speaking through the character of Yuta’s father.
Perhaps the “to quote a friend of mine” part of the line means that this is something Fujimoto thinks or something one of Fujimoto’s friends said to him, which he then decided to put into the oneshot.
Whatever the meaning of this scene is, it does lead into the moment where Yuta is hurt again, as he learns that Eri is also suffering from a terminal illness, after she collapses on a beach while filming.
In the hostpital, Eri asks Yuta to film her final moments, just like his mother wanted to do for him, causing Yuta to flee in a panic.
Yuta is then met by his father, who decides to show him his mother’s final moments on film, where we get one of the big bombshells of the one shot.
While Yuta’s mother lay dying in the hospital bed, Yuta’s father explained to her that Yuta would not come out of the car to see her, so he will be filming her final moments.
This causes Yuta’s mother to claim that her son was always useless, and we then get a bunch of panels showing her being abusive to Yuta and forcing him to film her life, revealing that Yuta made his mother look good in the film he made, having the power as the director to decide how she would be remembered.
Along with this moment being shocking and emotional, it also brings Eri’s comment about Yuta’s film blurring the line between fact and fiction to the forefront.
In that film, we see Yuta running away from the hostpital before it explodes, yet in the video of his mother’s final moments, his father says he is staying in the car rather than running away.
So how much of what we are shown before the explosion is real, if it was not just the explosion and his mother’s personality that were manipulated?
Is what we are seeing here fact or fiction in this story?
That is a question that the reader will ask a lot going forward.
Following Yuta’s talk with his father, he goes to see Eri and reconciles with her, agreeing to film her until her death, which he does so, all the way up until Eri is on her death bed, where she says to create a movie that will make everyone bawl their eyes out.
Cut to the school auditorium again after Eri’s death where, this time, the audience are all bawling their eyes out as they watch Yuta’s movie, to which Yuta pulls Eri’s peace sign at the hero’s victory.
An indeterminable amount of time later, Yuta is approached by the girl who said she could not forgive him for adding the explosion.
She reveals that Eri actually wore glasses, had a dental retainer, never dated Yuta, and actually had a massive temper to the point that this girl and Yuta were her only friends.
The girl then thanks Yuta for depicting Eri in such a positive light.
Taking her words into account, though, this means that every single moment we have seen between Eri and Yuta was either staged or recreated for their movie, again blurring the line between fact and fiction.
Then we get the biggest mind screw of all, as the one shot supposedly jumps forward decades later, as Yuta narrates that he eventually got married and had a daughter, but could never stop recutting Eri’s movie.
We then see the older Yuta, looking just like his father, only without the facial hair, and he says to his phone that his entire family, including his father, were killed in a car accident.
Not wanting to endure any more deaths, Yuta decides to take his own life, apparently going to the abandoned building where he and Eri watched movies to do so.
It is here that the mind screw part comes in, as Yuta walks into the abandoned building, and finds Eri, somehow still alive and watching his movie.
She comments that his movie is on track but something about it is not quite there, as films ending with the love interest’s death are overdone.
“It’s missing a pinch of fantasy, don’t you think?” She says.
Yuta says the film has fantasy because he turned Eri into a vampire, but Eri says that is fact because she really is a vampire, but one whose body dies every 200 years due to her overflowing memories.
When she died in front of Yuta, she revived three days later, without her memory.
Only the movie he made told her things about herself.
Although, given that it has been established that the version of Eri Yuka showed was idealized, she may have the wrong picture.
Eri then comments on the beauty of his movie, and how people can be immortalized through them (much like a vampire, I would say), to which Yuka agrees, before saying his titular goodbye to Eri.
Now, after much struggle, Yuta finally knows why he spent so long recutting his movie.
As Eri said, it was missing a pinch of fantasy, and that fantasy comes when the building explodes as Yuta walks away triumphant, bringing the one shot to an end.
Okay, so what the hell does this all mean?
Is Eri really a vampire?
How much of the film is real?
Well, the beauty of this one shot is that it is subjective.
Eri says at one point that stories which blur the line between fact and fiction, “make for a good puzzle.”
Allow me to state my own interpretation of this puzzle then.
I think that the parts with Yuta’s mother and Eri dying are real, although they are both depicted as idealized versions of themselves.
During the filming of Eri’s portion of the story, the two decided that there was something missing about the movie, as it “needed a pinch of fantasy.”
So, the two decided to get Yuta’s dad to play a future version of Yuta, shaving his facial hair to pull it off.
They then filmed the entire ending vampire scene with the building exploding at the end.
After this, they filmed the rest of the movie up until Eri’s death, whereupon Yuta compiled all of his footage into the film we are now seeing in the oneshot.
Or who knows, the entire thing could be a fictional movie, if you want to think of it that way.
There really are so many different ways to interpret Goodbye Eri.
But, no matter what you may think happened in this story, I think we can all agree, as Yuta says after his film Dead Explosion Mother debuts, “That was awesome, right?”
Tatsuki Fujimoto has done it again, delivering another amazing one shot that I will not forget for some time.

Spy x Family, Episode Two, Secure a Wife Review: Iconic Marriage Proposal.

When it comes to marriage proposals, there are a lot of videos online of people proposing in the most creative of ways.
Well, I think Twilight had them all beat in the second episode of Spy x Family, “Secure a Wife.”
After all, what’s more romantic than fighting off a band of smugglers and then proposing with the grenade pin from the same grenade you used to blow them up?
The build up to this instantly iconic anime proposal is well done, with numerous comedic and wholesome moments, just like in the first episode.
Before this, however, we get our first look at the opening “Mixed Nuts” by HIGE DANdism, and I really liked this one.
The visuals start off with a noir-action vibe, before transitioning into colourful, childlike images of Anya’s experiences with her family, and then cutting back to action, before right back to wholesome at the end.
Along with this, the vocals are also pretty great.
Once the opening finishes, the Takahiro Harada directed episode begins by setting up the introduction of Twilight’s fake wife to be, first with a comedic moment as Twilight’s friend Franky dresses up as a woman to pose as the wife, only to be turned down by Twilight who wants to explore his options.
And by “explore options”, he means breaking into the City Hall and stealing all of the information on the unmarried women working there to find a potential wife.
Pretty creepy Twilight but, then again, it is for the good of the world.
In any case, this does lead to the introduction of Yor Briar (Saori Hayami) who, as her terrible work colleague says, is rather unique.
I mean, this is kind of obvious, given that she mistakes a joke from her coworkers to mean that boogers actually makes drinks taste better (god help Twilight and Anya when she actually cooks for them) but it goes deeper than that.
This becomes apprent when, right after making up an excuse of already having a bofriend to her brother, she gets a call from her boss to handle a client in her real profession: assasination.
Yor is a high profile assassin, known as the Thorn Princess, who takes out her target with ease, only ripping her dress in the process, a fortuitous turn of events, since it leads to her meeting Twilight and Anya, as all three go to the same clothing store, Twilight to get Anya’s measurements for refined clothing and Yor to get her dress sewed back up for the party.
Due to her skills as an assassin, Yor is able to walk beside Twilight without him noticing, drawing his attention as he wonders if his skills are slacking.
Yor then notices him looking (even though his back is to her, which is weird), and Twilight uses this as an oppurtunity to compliment Yor, considering her as a fake wife candidate.
This causes Yor to consider asking Twilight to be her fake boyfriend for the party, before Anya shows up and Yor wrongly assumes Twilight is married.
Anya then comes in for the save as Twilight’s wingman when, upon reading Yor’s mind and realizing she’s an assassin, Anya wants her to be her mother, so she starts dancing and singing that she wishes she had a mother.
Real inconspicious Anya.
Also hilarious.
With the misunderstanding resolved, Twilight and Yor agree to work togethor, Twilight acting as Yor’s boyfriend at the party and Yor acting as Anya’s mother for the Eden Academy interview.
The only problem is that Twilight has to steal back art from a smuggling ring on the night of the party with Franky, meaning he is late and injured upon arriving.
This causes him to get his missions mixed up and announce to everyone that he is Yor’s husband.
Twilight and Yor roll with it, however, and unintentionally embarass Yor’s rude coworker, who tries to embarass Yor on numerous occasions.
If anything, all this coworkers does is make the two more interested in each other, as Twilight is impressed with Yor’s dedication to looking after her brother and voices this, and Yor grows even closer with Twilight due to his kind words, now looking to extend their agreement.
Granted, Yor does choose the worse time to offer this extension, as she does it while the two are attacked on their way back from the party by the smuggling ring.
Although, maybe it was the right time because it does lead to us seeing the most romantic anime proposal ever, as Loid chucks a grenade at their attackers before using the pin as a ring, with both him and Yor agreeing to stay togethor for their own betterment.
Yet, while both are aware that their reasons for keeping up this marriage are self serving, they are unaware of what their true motivations are: Twilight for his mission to preserve world peace, and Yor so she will not be suspected of being an assassin.
The only one who does know is Anya and that will make for numerous comedic moments in the future of the anime, I assure you.
Overall, I would say that Episode Two is better than the first one, as it felt like it had a lot more room to breath with its comedic timing.
The next episode looks to continue this, since it appears we may be getting some anime only scenes, which will hopefully be just as funny and wholesome as the manga’s humor.

Spy x Family Episode One, Operation Strix Review: Wholesome Spy Shenanigans.

After much anticipation, the Cloverworks and Studio Wit adaptation of Tatsuya Endo’s manga Spy x Family has finally released its first episode, “Operation Strix.”
Directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, this first installment is an excellent start for the anime, no doubt bringing in many new fans for this wholesome story.
“Operation Strix” begins with the introduction of the spy known as Twilight (Takuya Eguchi), who comes from the country of Westalis.
Inside its rival contry Ostania, Twilight works to protect his own country through various espionage exploits, like stealing incriminating photos that reveal the foreign minister wears a toupee… no, I’m not kidding.
Twilight achieves this with ease by impersonating the man buying the photos, Edgar, with a life-like face mask.
It is revealed that Twilight managed to get close to Edgar by dating his daughter, Karen, a relationship which is now useless to him, causing him to break up with Karen in a comedic scene where he uses the excuse of not sensing, “any intelligence in your conversations.”
As he throws the life of his cover Robert away, Twilight narrates that he threw away any ideas of marriage or conventional happiness when he became a spy, only for the next scene to naturally force him to construct both.
Reading a coded message on a train, Twilight is given his next mission: to get close to political extremist named Donovan Desmond and uncover any seditious acitivies he may be committing.
In order to get close to him, Twilight will need to enroll a child at an elite private school where Desmond’s son goes, meaning he has to have a child and get married in seven days.
This ridiculous prospect causes him to understandably spit out his coffee and wonder aloud how he is supposed to do this, humorously disrupting the passengers around him.
Well, disturbingly enough, it seems that all it takes to adopt an orphaned child in this country is to just walk in the front door of an orphanage and the drunk caretaker will give you one.
At least it ends positively in this case, with Twilight adopting the adorable future meme generator of the anime community, Anya (Atsumi Tanezaki), who is everything Twilight is looking for.
She is six years old, even though she looks younger, stand on her tip-toes when people question this, and also completes a complicated crossword puzzle as good as if not better than any adult.
The only problem is, unknown to Twilight, Anya is actually a telepath, who escaped from the organization that created her, and has been reading his mind to see what kind of daughter he wants, desperate for a family and naturally excited to meet a spy.
After adopting her, Twilight moves them into their new apartment under the name Loid Forger, where his inexperience with children and Anya’s telepathy cause a lot of problems during a shopping trip, much to Twilight’s distress and our amusement.
There’s Twilight accidentally scaring Anya by thinking of an enemy attack, then Anya misinterpreting his thoughts to believe that him understanding her will create world peace, motivating her to declare that she likes peanuts and hates carrots, before mistaking a bakary for a “bakenry.”
All of this humor causes Twilight to question if Anya is stupid, wondering if he should replace her, naturally causing Anya to burst into tears, only to cheer up instantly when Twilight offers her peanuts.
See, Twilight’s learning.
Things don’t necessarily go better the next day, however, as Anya is reluctant to study for the test, leading to Twilight going to get the exam questions for the private school from his friend Franky, leaving Anya to her own destructive devices.
I say destructive because she uses her telepathy to uncover Twilight’s spy gadgets, leading her to accidentally contact Edgar and taunt him, allowing him to figure out the location of Twilight’s apartment and kidnap her.
Twilight arrives, unaware of her kidnapping and the incoming ambush Edgar has set, only for him to notice the barricade he set to lock Anya in the apartment has been moved.
We then get out first action scene of the series, as Twilight takes on his attackers, and it is fantastic.
The animation is fluid and makes me excited for the action scenes we will get in the future, even if I am looking forward to the wholesome and comedic moments more.
In any case, the fight ends with Twilight discovering Anya’s kidnapping and questioning whether he should leave her behind, only to seemingly be knocked out by one of Edgar’s goons.
Meanwhile, Anya is under the captivity of Edgar and witnesses him execute one of his men for daring to suggest that they should stop focusing on getting the foreign minister’s toupee.
This joke leads me to one of my few criticisms of the episode, which is that it goes by a bit quick.
In the manga, it felt like there was more breathing room for the jokes to register, like the toupee joke but it goes by pretty fast here.
After the final toupee gag, Edgar’s man who attacked Twilight arrives with him unconcious, only for this man to be a disguised Twilight who rescues Anya, causing the girl to cry in joy, making Twilight realize that he hates the sound of children crying because it reminds him of his own traumatic childhood, something that hits hard with a recent manga chapter.
Setting down Anya outside, he lies that he is a pro-tag player and challenges her to take a note to a policeman, which Anya learns telepathically will take her to a better orphanage.
The following scene where Anya turns to see Twilight rip off his face mask as he goes to face Edgar, thinking of how his goal is to make a world where children won’t cry, is a fantastic adaption of the manga, with the animation, music and cinematography driving the emotion home.
Back inside the building, Twilight takes down Edgar’s goons with ease, while keeping his face hidden, before putting a gun to Edgar’s head, saying he will kill him if he turns around.
This is where my second criticism of the episode comes in because this moment was much more intimidating in the manga, with Twilight’s face darkened to make him look dangerous, while in the episode his face is in clear view.
It made the part where he convinces Edgar to leave him alone by threatening Karen a lot darker, so it was a shame to see the impact lessened.
After this moment, it’s right back to wholesome as Anya reunites with Twilight, declaring that she wants to go home with him, which Twilight accepts while still lying about what he was doing.
Anya, however, does not care about the lies.
“Paga is a huge liar… But he’s such a cool liar,” she thinks to herself on the tram ride home.
Later on, Anya starts her exam for the private school, only to be horrified when she tries to cheat off the other participants and learns they don’t know the answers either.
She still manages to wing it, thankfully, much to Twilight’s excitement, but he collapses from exhaustion after finally relaxing, causing Anya to humorously declare that he has “died” when she gets home with him.
We then get the exciting cliffhanger of the episode where, after Anya adorably snuggles up to her adopted father on the couch, he reads a letter from Eden Collage, which says Twilight and Anya will need to take part in a family interview, meaning he now needs to find a fake wife.
Enter Yor, who we will be meeting next episode and, thankfully for Anya, is also a bundle of awesome and wholesomeness, so we have that to look forward to.
We have a whole lot to look forward to actually, as Spy x Family is probably the funniest and most wholesome manga out there right now and, if Cloverworks and Wit do as good of a job adapting it as they did this first episode, we will all be in for something truly special.

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 28, Dawn of Humanity Review: The Horrifying End of Part Two.

Another year, another finished part of Attack on Titan‘s last season, with the final part coming in 2023.
There was a lot of speculation about how Mappa would follow up Part Two, when it became clear that they could not adapt the rest of the chapters in the time they had left.
So, it would either be a movie or a Part Three and it turns out that it’s the latter, although I will say that they should have just labelled these parts as different seasons, since there’s such a significant gap between them.
Either way, the last episode of Attack on Titan the Final Season Part Two, “Dawn of Humanity”, directed by Hidekazu Hara, Mitsue Yamazaki and Tokio Igarashi, is a fantastic ending for this section of the story and very well adapted from the manga.
In my review for the previous episode, I speculated that this episode would also adapt the missing flashback from Chapter 123 because I thought they would go quite well with the events from Chapter 130, which the episode would be adapting.
Turns out I was right because “Dawn of Humanity” begins with that missing flashback, preluded by Mikasa wondering if Eren really never changed and, if that is the case, what she saw in him.
We then get the actual flashback, which sees the Scouts infiltrating Marley, with the hope of connecting with a group that protests for Eldian rights.
This mission starts off almost disasterously and definintley humorously, as Connie and Sasha both nearly break their cover by talking about leaving the walls of Paradis out loud, to which Jean has to reprimand them for.
The Survey Corps then begins their scout of enemy territory, with even more humorous events, as Sasha eats ice cream for the first time, she, Hange and Connie chase down a car to feed it carrots and, funniest of all, Levi is confronted by a clown who mistakes him for a kid.
Yet, the scene turns serious whenever it changes to Eren, as we now know that he had his future memories during this mission, so he was aware that he was going to kill most of the people the group are currently interacting with.
While this scene is happening, Mikasa reflects on how they did not notice this or maybe did not want to notice, and I think it is the latter, since she looks concerned for Eren on multiple occasions.
The scene then turns more serious, when Levi stops a migrant kid from pickpocketing Sasha, calling him out in front of everyone.
However, he and the rest of the Scouts quickly realize this was not the right call because it is like a switch is flipped in the Marleyans’ heads and they all become racist psychopaths, wanting to toss the boy in the ocean to drown, smash his hand, or hang him.
Levi then steps in, picking the kid up and claiming he is actually Sasha’s brother, to which she and Hange play along with, before the group flee, taking the boy to saftey, only for him to pickpocket Levi before departing.
The Scouts then go to visit Kiyomi, discussing their plan to meet in secret with the Eldian rights group, to which Kiyomi is skepticial will result in anything, but Hange insists they have to try.
Mikasa then notices Eren is missing and runs outside to find him looking over a refugee camp where the boy they saved and his family are staying.
Eren hides his tears from her and when Mikasa asks Eren if something happened to the boy, Eren chillingly replies, “nothing yet”, again indicating to the audience that he has future memories of the Rumbling.
Eren then abruptly asks Mikasa why she is so determined to protect him, questioning what he is to her, to which Mikasa gets flustered and responds that he is family.
They are then interrupted by the young boy’s grandfather, who invites them and the rest of the 104th Scouts to drink with them.
This results in honestly one of the most heart touching moments of the series, as we see the 104th happy togethor for the last time before Eren went rogue.
What makes this even better is the music that is playing because it is the same one that played when Grisha lead Faye outside the walls, leading to her death.
Thus, this scene is yet another moment of final happiness before everything goes wrong.
For this final moment of happiness, we see everyone surprised by how quick Eren is to drink, them all partying togethor, the young boy flinging himself into Eren, Sasha puking in a pot, and Levi, Hange and Onyankopon being mortified as they find the group passed out drunk.
Then comes the moment where it all goes bad, as the scene cuts to the Scouts going to the meeting of the Eldian rights group in the morning, only for this group to condemn the Eldians on Paradis island, just like almost everyone else in the world does, leading to Eren leaving.
In the present, Mikasa now wonders if Eren would have taken another path if she had given him a different answer when he asked what he meant to her.
Honestly, though, I have never really been able to see this as happening.
Even if Eren does return Mikasa’s feelings, I cannot see him taking a different path than the one he has because of who he is as a person.
The episode then cuts to the adaptation of Chapter 130, beginning from Eren’s perspective as he wonders where everything started, if it was the day the walls fell, when the pigs were freed, or maybe from the moment he was born.
Eren then decides that it does not matter because everything that has happened is according to his will.
We then get another flashback, as we see Yelena tell Eren about Zeke’s Euthansia Plan, with Floch secretly listening in.
Eren and Floch then have a private conversation where Eren reveals to him that he plans to destroy the world, stating that they will play along with Zeke until they have the oppurtunity to betray him.
Floch actually looks pretty shocked when Eren says he will kill everyone outside the walls, making me wonder if he was always so gung-ho about this plan or if he needed a little persuading from Eren.
Then we finally see Historia after so long, with Eren going to visit her to tell her his plan.
This scene starts with the two of them discussing the implications of the 50 year plan, where Historia will have to sacrifice herself and her own children by continuously inheriting the Beast Titan.
Historia is still bizarrely okay with this plan, seemingly having forgot all of the character development she recieved in the Uprising Arc, but thankfully Eren is not okay with this, revealing to her his true plan to which Historia is understandably horrified.
She tells Eren that if she does not try to stop him then she won’t be able to live with herself, but Eren says that she can because she is “the worst girl in the world,” calling back to the time she saved his life in the Uprising Arc.
This seemingly convinces her to stay quiet about his plan.
We then get another flashback scene, this time between Eren and Zeke in Liberio, as Eren questions Zeke about his theory that Mikasa’s Ackerman blood makes her a slave to him.
Zeke, however, reveals that Eren’s suspicions are entirely wrong and that there is no Ackerman instinct to protect a host, meaning that Mikasa protects him because she truly loves him.
Although, one question I do have is what caused Eren to come to his wrong conclusion about Mikasa’s Ackerman blood in the first place.
I mean, we know he lied to her about it to push her away, but he seems to have thought it was true back in Liberio, so why did he think so before Zeke disproved it?
In any case, Zeke then questions what Eren intends to do about Mikasa’s feelings, but Eren says he only has four years to live and he wants all of his friends to live long lives.
Intercut among this sequence, we see Eren cutting off his own leg and gouging his eye out with a bullet to act like a wounded soldier in Liberio and, weirdest of all, Historia asking Eren if she should get pregnant.
After this scene, we then return to the present for the final, horrifying scene of Part Two, as the Rumbling finally arrives in Marley.
The world’s naval fleet are waiting for them but their efforts are completley useless, as there are literally millions of Colossal Titans advancing on them from the sea.
The military alliance only manage to take out a couple of the Walls Titans, before they swim right below their ships, the heat incinerating every soldier aboard, which is a much more ghastly display than the one in the manga.
The Wall Titans then emerge from the ocean and march towards the ground forces, who also have no effect on the wall of death fast approaching.
Eventually, the fear wins out and the soldiers run, only to turn back and see Eren’s gigantic Titan form emerging from the ocean as well.
This horrifying image is accompanied with a soldier title dropping the series, “Shingeki no Kyojin!”.
As the Rumbling finally begins its process of destroying the world, Eren’s inner monologue states that he will wipe out every last one of them, while remembering his mother’s death, bringing a close to Part Two’s last episode.
“Dawn for Humanity” is a phenominal episode that adapts Chapters 123 and 130 very well.
I especially have to praise Mappa for their work on the CGI Colossal Titans.
They have definitley improved their CGI from Part One.
The only criticisms I have for this episode are that I still think Historia accepting the 50 year plan goes against her character, and that the ending to the series itself undermines some of Eren’s scenes.
That last point obviously factors in manga spoilers, so I will be discussing that down below rather than here.
Despite these issues, “Dawn for Humanity” is still a fantastic ending for the Final Season’s second half, and it makes me even more excited for the future adaptations of great chapters like 131, 132 and 134.

Manga Spoilers:
I said in the spoiler free section of this review that one of my criticisms comes from my belief that the ending to the manga undermines some of Eren’s scenes.
However, I want to start off the manga spoilers section positively, so instead I’ll begin by discussing how the merging of the Chapter 123 flashback and Chapter 130 into a single episode could improve one aspect of the ending: this being Eremika happening.
Eren’s feelings for Mikasa honestly feel very sporadic to me in the manga.
I can only pinpoint three moments before the ending where it looks like he might return her feelings, these being Chapters 50, 123 and 138, with the remaining 135 chapters being him either treating her like family or pushing her away.
Yet, I think that pairing up the Chapter 123 flashback, where Eren asks Mikasa what he is to her, with the scene in Chapter 130 where Zeke discusses Mikasa’s feelings for Eren, does hit it further home that we are heading towards an ending where Eren’s feelings for Mikasa will be confirmed.
I don’t think it fixes the rushed nature of the reveal entirely because, again, Eren’s feelings for Mikasa are quite sporadic in their portrayal, but it does improve it so I think more people will be accepting of it watching the anime than in the manga.
With that positive out of the way, I now have to move onto my criticisms, because while I think Eren’s feelings for Mikasa may be recieved better in the anime, I don’t think the reveal of Eren’s true plan will because of how much it contradicts his actions in this episode.
The ending reveals that Eren knew he would be stopped before he entirely destroyed the world, so this raises the question of why Eren lies to Historia about the Rumbling.
She is horrified by it and initially wants to stop him and Eren could have calmed her down somewhat by telling her that he would be stopped.
Instead, he says, “the only way to end this cycle of revenge fueled by hate is to bury our hate-filled history along with civilization itself.”
It makes sense why Eren lied to Floch about the Rumbling, since he needed him to help start the Jeagerists, thereby allowing Erein to get into contact with Zeke, but lying to Historia served absolutley no purpose.
It makes Eren seem quite contradictive at the end.
I have heard some argue that Eren only learned he would not succeed in destroying the world after he gained complete control of the Founding Titan which, if true, would explain this plot hole because it would mean Eren didn’t lie to Historia.
However, this is stated absolutley nowhere in the manga, with Eren and Armin’s final conversation seeming to contradict this theory as well.
Another weird moment about this scene, which I was surprised to see wasn’t cut, is Historia asking Eren if she should get pregnant.
This was weird in the manga and it is weird here because it seems to be hinting that there is something about this pregnancy we don’t know about but there really isn’t.
Historia just forgot her entire motivation to live for herself and was paried off with a nameless nobody, who contributed to her wanting to kill herself at the beginning of the story, and then she was sidelined with a degrading pregancy subplot for the rest of the story (Yes, I still hate how Historia’s character was treated in the final arc. How could you tell?).
As for Eren, there is another moment where his dialogue makes no sense when considering the ending, this being the final scene of “Dawn of Humanity.”
Here, Eren’s own inner monlogue states that he will wipe out every last one of them.
Again, this is contradicted by what happens in the ending, with Eren knowing he will be stopped.
Coming into the episode, I thought this line would be delivered in a flashback to when Eren said this as a young boy after his mother’s death.
That would have made this moment make sense because it’s not the Eren who knows he is going to be defeated speaking, but the young kid mourning his mother.
Yet, this is not what we got.
Instead, it is adult Eren thinking about how he will wipe everyone out when he should know that he won’t.
This also completley debunks the theory that Eren learned he would lose after gaining the full power of the Founding Titan.
The ending makes a lot of Eren moments in this episode make no sense.
Thus, the hindsight of the ending really makes these scenes have less impact for us manga readers and will produce the same effect on anime only viewers when they rewatch the series, in my opinion.
But, hey, despite the lackluster ending we will most likely still be getting when the Final Season Part Three comes out in 2023, at least we will still have some amazing moments from the manga to look forward to.
So, until 2023 Attack on Titan. 

Eighty-Six Review: Fantastic Commentary on Child Soldiers.

There are many anime out there that deal with teenagers being sent to the front lines of battle.
To name a few of the ones I have seen, there is obviously Attack on Titan, and also Mobile Suit Gundamn: Iron Blooded Orphans.
However, despite there being many anime that depict this issue of child soldiers, I would argue that few handle this topic as well as Eighty-Six.

Eighty-Six deals with the ethics of teens being sent to war better than any anime I have seen.

Developed by A-1 Pictures and based off the light novel by Asato Asato, the Toshimasa Ishii directed anime begins in the Republic of San Magnolia, a country that has been at war with the Empire of Giad’s AI army, known as the Legion, for nine years.
Despite many years of war, the Republic claims to have lost none of their soldiers, due to their own mechanized, remote controlled forces.
Thing is, this is all just propaganda.
The Republic’s mechanized forces are far from remote controlled.
Their Juggernauts are actually controlled by the Colorata minority, a diverse group of people who have been stripped of all human rights by the dominant race of the Alba and forced by to fight for them, along with being forced to relocate all to the 86th District, hence the title of Eighty-Six.
With all of the Eighty-Six’s parents having been killed in the fighting, the Albans are now forcing their children to pilot their Juggernauts to fight the Legion, with Alban handlers directing them.
One of these handlers is Vladilena “Lena” Milize (Ikumi Hasegawa), who hates what has been done to the Eighty-Six, and is put in charge of the Spearhead Squadron, lead by Shinei Nouzen (Shōya Chiba), nicknamed The Undertaker.
From this point, the story unfolds, as Lena is quickly faced with the horrors the Eighty-Six have to go through on a daily basis and her own hypocrisy in how she treats them, all the while Shinei and his fellow 86 learn to deal with a handler who actually sympathizes with their plight. 

Just because Lena sympathizes with Shinei and his friends, does not mean she doesn’t dehumanizes them in their initial intercations, which is called out perfectly and creates great development for her character.

This results in numerous hard hitting moments, both on the battlefield and off, helped by the amazing animation and soundtrack by Hiroyuki Sawano and Kohta Yamamoto, all coming togethor to bring the story’s commentary on the horrors of war, nationalism, racism and child soldiers to the forefront.
Yet, there is also hopeful themes among the dark ones, which is especially apparent in the last few episodes, which were delayed due to production issues.
Despite these issues, these final few episodes were incredible, making me tear up in the penultimate episode.
Heck, even Asato Asato apparently cried at the adaptation so you know the anime did something right. 

The penultimate episode has my favourite moment of the entire series so far, making me tear up along with the characters. Everything from the animaton, to the soundtrack, to the cinematography, came togethor to create a masterpiece of a scene.

Given the quality of these last few episodes, I really have to praise A-1 Pictures because clearly everyone involved, from the animators to the director, were passionate about this story, as proven by how they delivered the last few episode with the same quality as the rest of the anime, while having production problems.
The quality was so good that now I am even more excited for a follow up, which I hope we get.
With how amazing this anime’s story, characters, themes, direction animation and score are, if it gets a follow up, it could be up there with some of the greats.

Give us more 86, please.

Of all of these great features, I have to end this review by once again praising its themes.
Of all the anime I have seen with child soldiers, Eighty-Six delivers the best commentary on that.
It even trumps Attack on Titan in this regard, since Eighty-Six actually deals with the deplorable ethics of using children in war, despite their insistance to fight.
It is a theme I hope to see expanded upon whenever we get a follow up, which should happen because there is apparently enough source material to create more.
Fingers crossed that this is what happens.