Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans Review. Raise Your Flag!!!

4 and a half stars
When I first reviewed Attack on Titan, I basically called it the Game of Thrones of anime on account of how many characters were dying.
After reading the rest of the series so far, though, I know this is far from the case.
And now, after finishing Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, which we started but never finished at my university anime club, I can see that the Game of Thrones title suits the Gundam series a lot more.
Iron Blooded Orphans made me wonder just how bloody the other Gundam anime could be, with constant brutal deaths from the large cast of characters, which resulted in a tragic yet fitting ending.
Directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai and developed by Sunrise, the show follows Mikazuki Augus (Kengo Kawanishi) and Orga Itsuka (Yoshimasa Hosoya), two child soldiers who form the organization known as Tekkadan, with their first mission being to escort the maiden of revolution Kudelia Aina Bernstein (Yuka Terasaki) to earth.
What follows is a long and bloody journey both before, during, and long after the mission has ended with, as I said, many brutal and shocking deaths occurring.

Try not to get too attached to the characters because they’ll probably die horribly.

Although many of these deaths are telegraphed before they happen, they still carry huge emotional weight that makes you feel for the characters.
Whether these deaths be in massive Gundam fights or Godfather style assassinations, they always hit you where it hurts.
This is helped by how great the characters are.
Orga is definitely my favourite with me caring for him, even when his naïve desire to see Tekkadan succeed as quickly as possible inevitably lead them all down a tragic path.
As for Mikazuki, I was surprised by how much I liked him as a character, considering he is pretty emotionless.
Usually, I find it hard to connect with such characters but I think it completely worked for him.

Mikazuki may not express much emotion but I still understood and cared about him.

The other members of Tekkadan like Eugene (Yuchiro Yumehara), Akihiro (Yasuaki Takumi) and Biscuit (Natsuki Hanae) are just as interesting to watch.
Not only this but the antagonists are also understandable, with the anime subverting my expectations on what McGillis’ (Takahiro Sakurai) role would be in the story and also again surprising me with Galieo’s (Masaya Matsukaze) great character arc.
Although, I will say that McGillis’ creepy marriage to Galieo’s nine-year-old sister Almiria (Ai Kakuma) should have obviously been changed.
Seriously, even though we see nothing happen (thankfully) they should have aged her up to make it not feel like grooming.
Sadly, this is not the only problems with the villains as the ones in season two have plot armour that I felt like borderlined on the ridiculous at times.   
This is especially the case with Iok (Nobunaga Shimazaki) who can burn in the fiery pits of hell for all I care.
He is easily my most hated anime character of all time with his narcissistic stupidity leading to the deaths of multiple characters.

The mocking name given to him by the fans “Idiok” is perfect for this unbearably unlikeable character.

However, I’m pretty sure we are supposed to hate Iok, so I can’t fault the anime for this because the writers did their job at making him detestable.
As for the animation and music, both are stellar, with there not being one weak moment from either.
The Gundam battles look especially fantastic and this is best showcased in the action packed final episodes, where the tragedy concludes with a bittersweet ending that left me sad yet satisfied, although I will admit it is a divisive end.
I honestly considered giving Iron Blooded Orphans five stars but its problems with some of the villains, namely McGillis’ relationship with Almiria (ew) and the plot armour for the antagonists in season two, held me back.
Still, this does not change the fact that it is a fantastic anime that is a tragic thrill ride from start to finish.
Just prepare to be emotionally crushed by the end.   

Noragami Review: I Need Season Three.


This year, I took on the role of an executive at the anime club, meaning I could suggest some anime for us all to watch.
One of these anime I suggested was Noragami, a show with two seasons, which I had heard a lot of good things about.
The first episode showed a lot of promise and many of my fellow students also seemed to like it, so it was one of the anime chosen for us to watch this semester.
And I, for one, am already hooked and need a season three.
Adapted from the manga by Adachitoka and directed by Kotaro Tamura, the anime follows the stray god Yato (Hiroshia Kamiya), who dreams of becoming famous and having millions of worshippers one day.
When an ordinary girl, Hiyori Iki (Maaya Uchida), finds herself able to interact with the world of spirits and gods after and accident, Yato agrees to help her get her back to normal, for the small price of five yen, of course.
With the help of Yato’s Regalia – a spirit of a dead person who can turn into a weapon for a god when they are given a name – Yukine (Yūki Kaji), the three go on many misadventures, both hilarious and dark, as they slowly begin to feel more like a family.

The growing friendship between Yato, Hiyori and Yukine is a great thing to see.

The situations that these three great characters find themselves in being either comedic or grim is highlighted by Yato himself, who can go from looking as harmless as a puppy to full on murderous swordsman in the span of a minute.
This dark side to Yato is often spurned on by Nora (Rie Kugimiya), Yato’s former Regalia who just brings out the worst in him.
Yato’s past with Nora is an interesting part of the story, making for a lot of fun speculation to have before the reveal of what he has really done.
And what Yato did in the past has gained him a few enemies, most notably Bishamon (Miyuki Sawashiro), who holds a massive grudge and relentlessly pursues him with the help of her Regalia Kazuma (Jun Fukuyama), who is definitely my favourite character in the show.

Kazuma’s amazing growth in the second season makes him one of the anime’s best characters.

It is his and Bishamon’s storyline that lead to the greatest arc of the anime in the first part of season two, which created a lot of intense moments with members of my anime club both cheering and screaming in horror at what was happening.
The second half of season two also introduced another one of my favourite characters Ebisu (Ryōtarō Okiayu), who I really wasn’t expecting to like when he was introduced.
However, he more than exceeded my expectations due to his fantastic interactions with Yato, resulting in a moment that actually got tears out of me in the final episode.

I was surprised by how much I liked Ebisu and look forward to see what his role will be.

As you can probably tell, season two “Aragato” is definitely my favourite season but season one is also a lot of fun with great humor, character development, and intense action.
Combine this with some fantastic openings “Gora wa Machiawse” and “Kyouran Hey Kids!!” which we were all singing along to by the end and you have yourself a really good time.
Noragami is a great anime that I will wait for a season three with crossed fingers, before probably caving in and reading the manga.

Kill La Kill Review: SYSTEM ERROR: FANSERVICE OVERLOAD!

4 and a half stars
Before I started watching Kill la Kill, I tried to remember what I had heard about it before.
Well, of all the things I could have forgotten, I somehow didn’t remember hearing that this was an anime with a lot of fan service.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I first saw our hero Ryuko (Ami Koshimizu) wearing Senketsu (Toshiniko Seki).
It made me worried that the show would just devolve into one of those anime that put fan service over story or whose fan service often got in the way of that story, like with Code Geass.
Thankfully, the exact opposite happened because, in an unexpected twist for me, Kill la Kill is an anime that revels in its fan service in such an over the top way that it somehow worked entirely.
Fan service is literally at the center of the story with the good guys being nudists.
This created a story that was both intense to watch, due to its story, and hilarious to see unfold, due to its purposefully out there eye candy.

Unlike other anime, Kill la Kill handles its over the top fan service in a perfect way.

Directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi and written by Kazuki Nakashima, Kill la Kill follows Ryuko Matoi who goes to Hoonouji Academy to confront the mysterious student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin (Ryoka Yuzuki), about who killed her father.
However, before she can get answers, she’ll have to fight through the various other students of the Academy, all while wearing the revealing Senketsu, a sentient uniform constructed from the even more mysterious Life Fibers.
The rivalry between Ryuko and Satsuki is great, as is the supporting cast, like the elite four, Ira Gamagori (Tetsu Inada), Uzu Sanageyama (Nobuyuki Hiyama), Nonon Jakuzure (Mayumi Shintani) and Houka Inumata (Hiroyuki Yoshino).
My favourite character would have to be Mako Mankanshoku (Ayu Suzaki), who is the kind of friend everyone would like to have.
Except for the whole, you know, going mad with power thing.
Thankfully, that was a one-time thing though.
In all seriousness, Mako is an enjoyably funny character with the great animation helping show off her eccentricities.

Can I get a “HALLELUJAH!” for Mako?

As for the animation, it is fantastic throughout.
I was captivated by it right from the very first episode and this continued to the very end.
Studio Trigger sure does have amazing animation for a lot of their anime.
As for the score, Hiroyuki Sawano once again kills it with some absolutely fantastic songs and music.
I especially like the themes for the main villains of the anime, Ragyo Kuryuin (Romi Park) and Nui Harime (Yukari Tamura), which were fire.
Speaking of Ragyo, I think we can all agree that she takes the title for worst mother in the history of ever.
Seriously, it doesn’t get much worse than planning a worldwide genocide with alien clothes and sexually assaulting your own daughters.
Well, at least the anime did a good job of making you hate her guts.
As for Nui, she is also a villain that I had a lot of fun watching, with her innocent design giving a false sense of security that hides the complete psychopath underneath.

Nui is a great villain who certainly leaves an impression when she first appears.

All of the characters are great and combining them with a good story, intense action highlighted by fantastic animation, a terrific score, and surprisingly well handled, over the top fan service, you get a really good result.
Kill La Kill is a great anime that has me intrigued to check out more of Studio Triggers’ work.

Attack on Titan Chapter 133, Sinners Review: No Bargaining With the Devil.

4 stars
If Chapter 133 of Attack on Titan, “Sinners,” proved anything, it is that Hajime Isayama’s epic story is about to enter its final battle.
“Sinners” is the build up to that battle, centering on the stories of the Alliance, those on the boat, and the escaped Eldians of Liberio, all of them heading to Fort Salta, either to fight in the final confrontation or to escape it.
Starting with the Alliance, their opening section is definitely the most interesting part of the chapter.
Beginning with Armin talking to Onyankopon, the moment deliberately parallels Onyankopon’s introduction in Chapter 104, as Armin says he is counting on him just like Hange did showing that Armin is truly stepping into the Commander role after Hange’s tragic sacrifice last chapter.
Speaking of Hange, Onyankopon saying that he would get the plane to Fort Salta because it was Hange’s last hope was very touching.
What is concerning is that, because of the approaching Rumbling, the Alliance didn’t have enough time to fully fuel the plane, so it is only half full.
Onyankopon says he will get them to Fort Salta but I get the feeling that it’s going to have to involve some sacrifice.
Maybe Onyankopon will kamikaze Eren’s Titan form as a way to give the Alliance an advantage.
Following their talk, Armin goes to finally make a strategy for confronting Eren with the rest of the Alliance.
A few ideas are thrown around, like Pieck suggesting Armin blow Eren up with his Colossal Titan, for example.
One of the more interesting ideas is Levi suggesting that they find where Zeke is located in Eren’s Titan and then kill him to stop the Rumbling.
I’m not sure how I feel about this plan because, if Eren does lose his connection to the Founding Titan, wouldn’t that just make the Wall Titans rampage without direction, making the situation worse?
It would be a bit stupid if killing Zeke just stopped the Wall Titans in place.
In any case, I don’t think the way to completely stop Eren is going to be simply killing Zeke.
If anything, I think Zeke and Levi’s final confrontation will most likely be a way for Levi to let go of his promise to Erwin and move on from it.
As Kenny said, everyone is “a slave to something,” and Levi is a slave to killing Zeke.
Hopefully, Levi can become free of this in future chapters.
As for who is truly free in this chapter, I honestly could not say.
After Reiner speculates that Eren wants them to stop him, possibly pulling a Lelouch as has been speculated by some readers, Eren brings all of the Alliance into the Paths Dimension to talk with them.
This results in some time and space shenanigans where Mikasa, Armin, Jean and Connie try to run to Eren, only to end up exactly back where they started with Levi, Reiner and Pieck.
Eren tells them that he has purposefully not altered their Titans because he believes they should be free to fight him if they wish to, debunking the theory that it was Zeke creating the Titans.
However, where one theory falls, even more arise, especially surrounding Eren and Ymir.
The two are seen side by side in the Paths Dimension, both in child form, with their eyes darkened.
Many theories have emerged from this moment, from Ymir is controlling Eren, to both Eren and Ymir are slaves, to Eren is somehow communicating with the Alliance in the past, you name it.
I find the most interesting question to be concerning if Reiner is actually right or not.
Does Eren want the Alliance to stop him?
Whatever the answer to this question is, I don’t think it’s going to end with a Zero Requiem for the very reason that Reiner brought up Eren wanting them to stop him this chapter.
If someone suggested in Code Geass that Lelouch was being the bad guy so that when his friend killed him the world would have been at peace then it would have ruined the twist.
So, I don’t think the final battle will end in this way.
Either way, the Paths scene is extremely intense, with all of Eren’s friends emotionally calling out to him and Eren coldly stating that if they want to try and kill him, “You are free to do so.”
Guess there really is no bargaining with the Devil.
With Eren’s remark, the Alliance are released into the real world in which only a second has passed and Onyankopon is confused by their traumatized states.
Levi then acknowledges Armin as Commander and asks what their next move is, followed by a determined look from the new Commander.
This makes me wonder if Armin really will throw away the talk option and decide to try and kill Eren to save humanity.
The entire Alliance talk and Paths scene is great, with a lot of amazing character interaction, like Jean and Connie reconciling with Reiner over their past crimes.
Then the chapter shifts to easily the most polarizing scene of “Sinners,” cutting to the members of the Alliance who stayed behind on Kiyomi’s ship.
The reason this scene is so divisive is because Falco reveals that he thinks he may be able to fly because previous Beast Titans could, and he was transformed by Zeke’s spinal fluid before he became the Jaw Titan.
Many people are calling this reveal contrived and out of nowhere but the setup was clearly there.
A flying Titan has been brought up ever since Chapter 93 where it was used as a joke.
Not to mention that Falco has been linked with birds constantly since his appearance, his name being Italian for falcon, him talking to a bird during his first appearance, and his Titan form literally looking like a bird.
Although, I will say there probably should have been more build up for the previous Beast Titans being able to fly.
We have only seen previous Beast Titans in ape form, so if it can really take the form of other animals, if that is what is being suggested here, then there should have been a few showcases of this, like maybe showing Tom Ksaver’s Titan form or have the panel of the first Beast Titan in chapter 122 be a different animal.
Still, there was some build up to it, and I am happy that Falco can fly because it means he can take the rest of the Alliance to join the final battle, which is something I wanted to happen, so I think this works, even if it should have had more set up.
Another reveal this chapter is the Female Titan’s power, which is to manifest other Titan powers, possibly by ingesting spinal fluid.
This may be in reference to Eren drinking the Armor serum and Galliard and Marcel’s Jaw Titans having armoured faces though, so it may not be too important.
Whether it is or not though, I cannot deny that Annie was the best part of this scene, with her experiencing considerable growth, remembering her father and the good times she had both with the Warriors and the 104th.
Now, it looks like she will join Gabi, Falco, and possibly Yelena because I suspect she will be coming, at the final battle, using Falco’s flying Jaw Titan to reach the Alliance.
Let’s just hope this doesn’t end in tragedy for Annie and Armin’s relationship as I have been predicting for a while.
Along with Annie, Kiyomi also got some much needed development, with her expressing her regrets for helping to bring Eren and Zeke together all for profit and the honor of her clan.
At this point though, I have no idea what role, if any, she has to play in the story going forward.
With there being no development in my theory that she would have a connection with Kruger and Ksaver, all that feels left for her is her established connection with Mikasa, which I hope pays off in some way.
Cutting away from Kiyomi’s ship, the chapter then pivots to its last scene with a train approaching Fort Salta, the location of the final battle.
And who is on this train?
Why, it’s none other than the Eldians who escaped from Liberio, lead by Annie’s father.
They took a train driver and his family hostage and are planning to take that train to escape on Fort Salta’s airships.
Looks like Annie will get a reunion with her father but, once again, probably in a tragic sense.
I will say though that Mr Leonhart is really starting to grow on me as a character.
Even though he knows their situation may be hopeless, he is leading his fellow Eldians in the blind hope that they will survive and that he may see his daughter again someday.
We also get some character growth from the Warriors’ families, like Gabi’s parents finally realizing they were wrong to send their daughter into the Warrior program and Pieck’s father refusing to throw his honorary Marleyan armband away because of how she sacrificed everything to get him it.
This character growth is cut short by the sight of the approaching Rumbling and a group of airships going to bomb it, hoping to blow all of the Titans away, ending the chapter.
Seriously, though, we all know that these airships don’t have a chance in hell.
Sure, they may kill a few Wall Titans but I doubt they would be a significant obstacle for Eren.
I think what Eren will do is just use the power of the Warhammer Titan to create some spears and then have the Wall Titans throw them at the airships like javelins.
That should be enough to take them out.
In all likelihood, all the airships’ attack could probably do is buy enough time for the Warrior’s family so that the Alliance can arrive in time to engage Eren in the final battle, which will most likely be the cliffhanger for the next chapter, ending Volume 33.
Overall, “Sinners” is another great chapter of Attack on Titan that builds to the final battle very well.
I predict that after the next chapter we will only have one more volume left before this fantastic story comes to an end, whether that ending be completely tragic or bittersweet (because it’s certainly not going to be happy).

Hinamatsuri Manga Review: I Have Never Laughed Harder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tenet Review: Inverting Confusion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.