Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode One: The Other Side of the Sea Review – A Fantastic New Beginning.

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN MANGA SPOILERS.

4 and a half stars
It’s finally here!
After over a year of waiting, Mappa has delivered the first episode of Attack on Titan’s final season, “The Other Side of the Sea,” and, boy, is it a good one.
Honestly, coming into this episode, I had concerns.
There has been a number of leaks about production hell at Mappa with how complex the character designs are so I was worried the animation would suffer.
However, Mappa and directors  Yūichirō Hayashi and Jun Shishido thankfully pulled it off, delivering a fantastic first episode that gave me a new appreciation for Chapters 91 and 92 of the manga, which the episode adapts.
Directed by  Kaori Makita, “The Other Side of the Ocean” picks up four years after the defeat of the Warriors on Paradis, introducing us to a whole slew of new characters, starting with Falco (Hanae Natsuki), an Eldian warrior candidate caught in the middle of the final battle of a war.
The opening scene introducing him and his brother Colt (Masaya Matsukaze) is fantastic, with the ringing of Falco’s ears, the intense music, and the brutal imagery of the brothers’ fellow soldiers being cut down in a hail of bullets.
The war the two are involved in is Marley’s attempt to defeat the Mid-East Allied Forces by destroing their forces at Fort Salta; the Mid-East Allied Forces being a series of countries who banded together to attack Marley after they were defeated at Paradis four years ago.
This information is delivered to us in admittedly shoddy exposition, with the convenient excuse of Falco losing his memory due to a probable concussion.
Thankfully, it is a brief scene so it is not too much of a problem.
Also, this does give the episode time to introduce its other new characters, Gabi (Ayane Sakura), Udo (Ayumu Murase), Zofia (Yumi Kawashima), and Commander Magath (possibly Yukitoshi Hori), all of whom are greatly adapted from the manga.
Gabi is especially well done, with Ayane Sakura bringing the character to life perfectly because I already can’t imagine another voice actress playing her and I’m probably going to hear her voice whenever I read Gabi’s lines in the story.
Following these introductions, Gabi reveals she, Falco, Udo and Zofia are being considered by Magath for the role of the next Armoured Titan.
It is after this that we get the Final Season OP, “My War” by Shinsei Kamattechan.
Honestly, on my first listen, I was kind of unsure about it but, after repeat views, I think it’s a great opening for the Marley Arc, with amazing lyrics, and some chilling visuals towards the end.
I suppose my biggest criticism of it would be that it does occasionally use repeated shots of explosions and I think there should have been some variety.
Once the OP closes, we get the the beginning of the epic battle, with Gabi coming up with a plan to take down the Armoured Train, which is a threat to even the nine Titans, all by herself.
This plan goes off without a hitch, with Gabi destroying the Armoured Train before Falco dives in to protect her from machine gun fire.
He needn’t have tried though because the new Jaw Titan, Galliard, who has one of my favourite Titan designs, shows up to save them.
We also get a look at the Cart Titan, which has had its own upgrades in the four-year time skip, with machine guns mounted on its back to shoot at oncoming soldiers.
It is during this time that Falco saves an enemy soldier, only for him to call the Warrior candidates “devils,” showing how strong the hatred for Eldians is outside Paradis, even from their own people, as Gabi so obviously displays by how brainwashed she is into hating the Paradisian Eldians.
Then, we get the most epic moment of the episode as, in a perfect adaption, Eldians are parachuted down from an airship carrying Reiner  (Yoshimasa Hosoya) and Zeke (Takehito Koyasu).
The latter lets out a vicious roar, turning all of the falling Eldians into Titans, who crash down onto Fort Slava to a great soundtrack, which we saw a hint of in the final season trailer.
Reiner jumping down and wiping out the Mid-East Allied Forces’ soldiers with the help of Galliard, then protecting Zeke from a navy bombardment, followed by Zeke destroying that navy, were all moments that left my jaw on the floor, in terms of their quality.
One slight criticism I do have about sequence is the CGI.
Basically, almost all of the Titans in this episode are CGI and, while this looks great on some Titans like Galliard and Reiner, it looks a little off for the Beast Titan in certain shots.
However, this CGI is certainly nowhere as bad as WIT’s CGI Colossal Titan and it did not lessen my enjoyment of the events so, even if the quality of the Titans remains the same throughout the rest of the anime, I will be completely fine with that.
Following the end of the battle, we get the ED, “Shock” by Yuko Ando, which is another banger and has plenty of cool symbolism for upcoming events.
An intriguing anime only scene accompanies this song, which appears to show Jean having infiltrated Marley, hyping up a future battle that I hope is done justice with the adaptation.
This was not the only anime only scene in this episode though because there were multiple ones and, in my opinion, almost all of them improved the adaptation.
There were the anime original portrayals of the horrors of war, like traumatized Eldian soldiers, including one kissing a locket supposedly containing a photo of his loved ones, a squad of what appeared to be forced suicide bombers, and a single soldier climbing atop countless corpses.
Then there’s the added set pieces, like when Reiner has to destroy a second Armoured Train, which he then used to destroy the enemy canons, when in the manga there was no second train and Reiner used a radio tower to destroy the canons.
Another interesting change is the character redesign for Koslow.
In the manga, he looks like a normal guy but they adapted the design in the adaptation, making him pudgy and ugly, probably to make him seem like an evil caricature.
Thankfully, Koslow is a minor character with no importance in the plot so this character design change is not one I particularly mind.
What is definitely the most interesting deviation from the manga, though, is Falco, while concussed, saying that he dreamed he was flying around with a sword, fighting Titans.
This is quite a shocking change because it seems to be heavily implying that Falco is seeing the memories of one of the Scouts, most likely Eren’s.
If this is true, then this anime only scene may be crucial to predicting the manga’s ending, which I will discuss in my predictions for Chapter 136.
Overall, “The Other Side of the Sea” is a fantastic start to the final season that I actually think surpassed the manga, with its great adaptation of the source material and brilliant anime original scenes.
I was a bit worried about the adaptation going in but Mappa definitely proved themselves here and I hope they can keep up the quality in the 16 episodes to come.
Yes, I did say 16, because that seems to be how many episodes we will get, based off leaks, at least for now.
Since this is nowhere enough chapters to fully adapt the story without it being rushed and thus poorly adapted, this would spell certain doom for the final season were it not leaked that the pacing of this season will be around two chapters an episode.
Given this, the pacing will most likely be fine and we will probably get a second part of the season months from now, or maybe a movie or two to finish the adaptation.
No matter what happens though, I hope Mappa can keep up to the standard they have set with this episode and deliver a fitting final season to my favourite story of all time.

My Hero Academia Chapter 292, Threads of Hope Review: The Return of POWER!

4 stars
After Chapter 291 of My Hero Academia, I thought that the central focus would be on Best Jeanist’s return going forward.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, but another character looks set to take that spotlight away with one triumphant cry, “POWER!”
Before we get to that epic cliffhanger though, Chapter 292, “Threads of Hope” gives us more great action scenes with Best Jeanist coming in to trap Gigantomachia and the League, and the beginning of a battle between Shouto and his not-so-dear brother, Dabi.
Starting with Best Jeanist, the chapter opens with him being disgusted by Dabi airing the “dirty laundry” of his father’s abuse to destroy hero society.
I saw a lot of people taking this moment out of context, saying that Beast Jeanist didn’t have a problem with Endeavor abusing his family, when that’s not at all what he was saying.
What Best Jeanist actually means here is that he is disgusted with Dabi using that information for a specific goal in undermining a system he sees as protecting people and timing it to release when hundreds, if not thousands, of people are dead.
Best Jeanist vows to stop Dabi’s plan and he begins by trapping Gigantomachia, to Bakugo’s joy.
However, Jeanist’s threads are not quite strong enough to survive Dabi’s flames because he easily melts them and sends a blast towards Nejire, knocking her to the ground.
Looks like her screentime is getting cut again, which is a shame.
What follows is a battle between the two long lost brothers as Dabi tries his hardest to kill Shouto.
The panels of Dabi’s maniacal grin with scorch marks beginning to line his face are particularly disturbing, made all the worse by him not caring about how Natsuo was nearly killed by Ending, who he sent after Endeavor.
Dabi saying it was a shame Natsuo wasn’t killed because that would’ve made Endeavor suffer basically proves that he is a full on psychopath, with no sympathy for anyone, which he again confirms by saying he’s, “not big on “feelings” anymore.”
Following this tragic moment, we get an epic one with the chapter’s cliffhanger.
As Deku notices a group of Nomu heading for Beast Jeanist, who is struggling to contain Gigantomachia and still not back to full strength after his injury, however, Deku is too injured to back him up.
Just as all seems lost, and Deku begs himself not to go back to being the useless Deku who couldn’t save anyone, a familiar face permeates up from the ground.
With the battle cry of, “POWER!”, Miro Togata, AKA Lemillion, rises to attack the Nomu, and the fans all collectively lose their minds.
This was an incredibly epic moment and well built up in the chapter, with Mirio apparently saving Burnin from the Nomu earlier.
However, I do have a bit of an issue with it because I don’t think it was built up all that well outside of the chapter.
Sure, we saw Eri training her powers in the previous arc, but there wasn’t really much this arc to suggest Miro would be getting his powers back.
Also, while I do love Eri as a character, to the point that I included her in my Top 10 My Hero Academia Characters list, I do hope that her power doesn’t just go around undoing all of the other character’s injuries.
For example, her just magically returning Aizawa’s leg or repairing the hole in Gran Torino’s stomach.
That said, I do trust Horikoshi not to make Eri an automatic fix it button, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Overall, “Threads of Fate” is another great My Hero Academia, in an absolutely fantastic arc that has proven to be quite unpredictable.
You never know what twist Kohei Horikoshi might drop next.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales Review – A Fun Time in a Short Time.

4 stars
I really enjoyed Insomniac’s 2018
Spider-Man game, which offered some fantastic gameplay, along with a compelling, emotional story and a brand new take on Peter Parker (Yuri Lowenthal).
So, I was pretty excited to get into the next installment, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which sees players take control of Peter’s up and coming protégé, Miles (Nadji Jeter), as he has to save the city on his own when Peter goes on vacation, in what is a shorter experience than the first game but still an enjoyable one.
Now, I really enjoyed Miles as a character in my favourite movie of 2018, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so I was interested to see how Insomniac would depict him there.
Thankfully, Miles is just as relatable as Peter was in the previous game, offering a completely different arc from his, as Miles has to prove himself as worthy of the Spider-Man title to the rest of New York. 

Miles trying to impress the city as their new hero is an engaging journey.

Not that his efforts will impress J. Jonah Jameson (Darin de Paul), whose hilarious podcasts can still be listened to throughout.
As for the actual story, it is a good time, although nothing new.
The main antagonist of the Tinkerer (Jasmin Savoy Brown) is interesting and has understandable motivations and a great ending to boot.
However, the second antagonist, Simon Krieger (Troy Baker), is a very different story, being generic as they come.

Krieger is an incredibly bland antagonist but the Tinkerer thankfully makes up for him.

The gameplay is just as fun as it was in the first Spider-Man game, with enjoyable combat and stealth sequences and some great boss fights.
As for the web swinging mechanics, they are complemented by the improved graphics.

Speaking of graphics, unfortunately, this is where I have to get into my one problem with the graphics update, which is the new face model for Peter Parker.
I thought the one in the original game was perfect because of how it accurately reflected not only an older version of Peter but also one who we had never seen before.
The new face model, however, claims neither title.
It makes Peter look way too old and, even worse, look exactly like Tom Holland.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Tom Holland.
I do like his portrayal of Spider-Man, but this redesign takes the unique approach to Peter’s look in the first game and replaces it with what feels like an attempt to pander to fans of the MCU.

The redesign was definitely a bad idea because the original look suited this version of Peter better.

It’s like if they went back to the older Spider-Man films and digitally replaced Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield with Tom Holland, it just wouldn’t work because all three actors made the character their own and neither one could take over their exact interpretation.
Thankfully, though, Peter’s new face isn’t shown much and, even if it was, it wouldn’t be bad enough to take away from the overall experience too much because of how enjoyable the rest of the game is.
Overall, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a fun experience that gets you acquainted with another great interpretation of Miles and sets up some interesting events in the next game, if the post credits scene is anything to go by.

My Hero Academia Chapter 291: Thanks for Going Strong Review – More Exposure Incoming.

4 stars
Chapter 290 of My Hero Academia is definitely my favourite chapter of the manga so far, which made me pretty excited to read the next one, 291, “Thanks for Going Strong.”
Dabi’s reveal as Touya Todoroki was heavily anticipated and it more than paid off in “Dabi’s Dance” and continued to pay off in “Thanks for Going Strong” where Dabi dropped even more bombshells on both the unassuming public and the readers.
Probably the biggest of these bombshells was that Dabi had filmed Hawks killing Twice and had Skeptic edit it in a way to make it look like murder.
Not only this but Dabi also exposes Hawks’ true identity, revealing that he is the son of a serial killer thief, which is why his identity was kept secret for so long.
The fact that Dabi managed to twist all of this to suit his own narrative in such a short amount of time shows how smart he can be.
This also raises the question of if he wanted Hawks to kill Twice so he could use this to paint him in a negative light, or if he just took advantage of Twice’s death.
Either way, Toga’s probably going to hate him for this and I see a lot of bad blood between them in the future.
Although, Dabi using Twice’s death like this pretty much confirms that he is a full on psychopath with not a care for anyone but himself and his own plans.
As for said plans, they unfolded almost perfectly, with even “Can’tcha See” Kid losing faith by the end of the chapter.
However, note that I said almost perfectly because there are a few glaring flaws that quickly became apparent in Dabi’s plan.
Definitely the least noticeable of these is Hawks’ recorder, which was seen when he tried to arrest Twice, before being forced to kill him.
This recorder could completely exonerate Hawks of wrongdoing if it came out.
However, by far the biggest flaw in Davi’s reveal plan is him saying that Hawks killed Best Jeanist, who is revealed to be alive at the end of the chapter.
Him jumping in to crash Dabi’s murderous family reunion was an epic moment that throws Dabi’s entire plan into questionable territory about where it could go.
Personally, while I am happy to see Best Jeanist alive and well, I do hope this and Hawks’ recorder do not completely destroy Dabi’s credibility in the public eye.
Dabi revealing himself to be Endeavor’s son and detailing his abuse of his family, along with framing Hawks for murder, throws all of hero society into chaos but if the majority of people doubt his story then it could all go back to just being the status quo.
There needs to be fallout from Dabi’s reveal and it would be disappointing if the public at large dismissed his story entirely.
I understand that Best Jeanist being alive will bring some hope to hero society but I’d like there to be some tension because of what Dabi has done.
All of that said, I do have faith in Kohei Horikoshi and believe he can make this satisfying, it’s just a slight concern that I have.
As for the rest of the chapter, it is great, beginning with more information about Touya’s “death.”
For starters, it turns out that Endeavor wasn’t an abusive father right from the get-go.
Sure, he wasn’t exactly a good father, pushing his own dreams on his children, especially Touya and Shouto, but it looks like he was actually encouraging of Touya at first, and probably only became abusive after Touya, Fuyumi and Natsuo all turned out to be failures in his eyes.
I wonder if we’ll see exactly what caused this change in Endeavor’s attitude?
We’ll probably get that information when we get Touya’s full backstory, although I don’t expect that to come for a number of chapters.
I will say though, that this more supportive side to Endeavor seen during the initial years of Touya’s childhood, plus Endeavor thinking about how he looked for Touya at the end, not believing him to be dead, does show him to be a more caring father than we first thought.
Maybe so caring that he’ll actually admit his abuse to the public, hopefully?
Another interesting thing to note is that Touya’s hair turned white most likely not from abuse but from Rei’s side of his quirk slowly becoming more prominent, making him less resistant to his own fire.
This would have led to his “death” on Sekoto Peak where, after a fire that reached over 2,000 degrees celsius, only a part of Touya’s lower jaw bone was found, which raises a whole bulk load of questions.
Is Dabi missing a part of his jaw and wearing a prosthetic?
If so, how did Dabi survive part of his jaw falling off?
Or, if the jawbone isn’t Dabi’s, then whose is it?
So many questions but not enough time in the chapter to answer them so we’ll have to wait.
At least we’ll most likely see more Todoroki interactions next chapter because Natsuo and Fuyumi have now head the news that their supposedly dead brother is not only alive but a mass murderer.
Shouto is already taking the news badly, which is expected, as he is shown crying as he urges Endeavor to protect Deku and Bakugo, right before Best Jeanist shows up.
Speaking of Bakugo and Best Jeanist though, now that the two are in the same place, and with Bakugo telling Iida they need to achieve victory in the last chapter, it looks exceedingly likely that Baukugo is going to have another moment to shine where he reveals his hero name to Best Jeanist.
As for his hero name, Kachan and Ground Zero are both possibilities that have been thrown around by the fandom.
Either way, this war arc is almost at its conclusion and I cannot wait to see the fallout from Dabi’s reveal, the potentially thousands of casualties, and Best Jeanist’s heroic return to duty.
As for how the war arc itself will end, my money’s on the drug Class 1-A gave Gigantomachia kicking in soon, giving Best Jeanist and the other heroes a chance to take him down.
I can also see Dabi being captured and taken to Tartarus where he will probably meet his inspiration, Stain.
No matter what happens though, I am excicted to see how my favourite arc so far in My Hero Academia will end.

Noragami Manga Review: I Need Season Three Even More Now!

4 and a half stars
I had a blast watching the two seasons of Noragami at my university anime club.
The story was funny, tragic, and had a great bunch of compelling characters.
So, knowing that there was no season three, I decided to go and read the manga to see how this story would continue.
If you didn’t read my review of the anime, the story, written by Adachitoka, follows Yato, a downtrodden god who inadvertently causes a teenaged girl, named Hiyori Iki, to be stuck between his world and the human world.
Along with his new Shinki, Yukine, Yato sets out to help Hiyori and others, for the small price of five yen, all while dealing with the threat of his sorcerer Father and the manipulative Nora.
For starters, I really enjoyed the subsequent arcs that followed from where the anime left off.
There were a lot of intense moments throughout, accompanied by great character development and fight sequences.
My favourite arc of the bunch has to be the High Treason Arc, which has terrific fights, fun new characters, and a nail-biting conclusion.

The High Treason Arc is by far my favourite arc of the bunch, delivering plenty of great moments.

A close second would probably be the currently ongoing arc, which goes into detail about Yukine’s dark past and how he died.
Seriously, the manga goes to some really disturbing places in this arc and I am intrigued to see how it will go.
Yukine is not the only character whose past is seen as Yato’s tragic backstory is also explored in detail.
Characters like Hiyori, Bishamon, Kazuma, Ebisu and Kofuku remain as enjoyable and likeable as ever.
It is even interesting to see how some things from the manga were changed in the anime, like the end of the Underworld Arc where some character roles were switched and one character who was introduced in one chapter didn’t even appear in the adaptation.
Probably the most drastic way the anime diverts from the manga is the inclusion of Rabo, who is, surprisingly, not even a character in the manga and was probably only added to make a fight for the final episodes of season one.
In all honesty though, I think him not being in the manga does improve Hiyori’s story a bit because it doesn’t mean she has to go through a memory loss storyline twice.

Rabo’s addition in the anime added some great action for the final few episodes of season one but also undercut Hiyori’s storyline by making her go through amnesia two times rather than once.

Back to the manga, there are some elements of it that could have used some work, like with the reveal of Yato’s past.
The reveal itself is great but the way that reveal happened felt a little contrived.
Also, there are a few instances where the impact of potential character deaths are removed by them being saved or brought back to life, like at the end of the High Treason Arc.
Another slight problem I have is that I found it a little hard to take the main villain, Father, seriously at times, based on how he appears, although this is subjective.

Father looks pretty intimidating in the flashbacks, see above, but much less so in his current form.

All in all though, the Noragami manga is a great read that makes me want a season three even more.
Unfortunately, it’s been five years since the second season ended so we are unlikely to get one soon, if at all.
Fingers crossed that this manga can eventually be adapted for a great season three, some time in the future.

Attack on Titan Chapter 134, In the Depths of Despair Review: Suffer the Children.

5 stars
Another month, another incredible Attack on Titan chapter. 
Chapter 134, “In the Depths of Despair” sees the final battle of the story between Eren and the Alliance finally commence. 
It’s funny to think that I thought the final battle was beginning all the way back in Chapter 116, which was more than a year ago. 
How far the manga has come since then, with admittedly less than stellar chapters like Chapter 126, but mostly incredible ones like chapters 119, 121, 122, 123, 130, 131, and 132. 
Well, now I am happy to say that “In the Depths of Despair” is the same quality as these fantastic chapters, delivering plenty of epic moments. 
More than that though, the chapter lives up to its name, displaying quite a bit of despair, most of it in regards to children. 
This is made clear right from the beginning of “In the Depths of Despair”, where Historia is shown to be giving birth, right as the worldwide genocide of the Rumbling is happening.
Talk about bad timing. 
In all seriousness, Historia giving birth now does raise a lot of questions because Levi said there was still a few months before the baby’s arrival and, canonically, this was five days ago.
Levi being wrong here could be a mistake by writer Hajime Isayama or it could be a purposeful detail put in by him, which could have interesting implications for the pregnancy subplot. 
I will be discussing this in my predictions post for Chapter 135. 
In any case, Historia’s soon-to-be-born baby is not the only child we see in this chapter because we also get a lot of spotlight on other children suffering due to Eren’s Rumbling. 
There’s the children aboard the train with the Eldians from Liberio who find that all the airships have left, meaning they cannot escape the Rumbling and will likely be crushed if Eren is not stopped. 
Most chilling of all is a baby seen among a fleeing crowd of thousands, stuck between the Rumbling and a cliff. 
The people among this crowd are left with the choice of either death by being crushed or death by falling and probably drowning in the sea. 
Following this disturbing reveal of their choice in fate, we see a case of unsettling attention to detail by Isayama as a woman among the countless number of people facing their imminent deaths looks a lot like the pregnant woman who Eren saw in Chapter 130.
When Eren looked at her then, it caused him to wonder what his mother would think. 
Well, now Eren seems to have pushed such thoughts aside because this pregnant woman has given birth since he saw them, and now Eren is condemning the both of them to their deaths. 
In a most likely futile but no less touching attempt to save her child, the woman throws her baby into the crowd as she falls off the cliff. 
The baby is catched by another woman and, in a beautifully haunting panel that is now probably my favourite of the entire manga, the countless citizens, doomed to die in the Rumbling, reach out to protect this child against the inevitable, incoming death.
It is the children who truly suffer the most in this chapter, with Historia’s baby being born at the beginning potentially foreshadowing the new life for Paradis children while, in the rest of the world, millions of children are ruthlessly slaughtered in Eren’s genocide.
Children being the biggest victims here is also astutely pointed out by the leading general at Fort Salta who, I just want to say, really grabbed me this chapter, despite us not knowing his name or backstory. 
Some say that his speech to his fellow soldiers was forced and contrived but I really disagree with this. 
In all honesty, I found it to be one of the most beautiful speeches of the entire story that ties into the themes incredibly well. 
This can be seen through his realization of how the hate they gave has now been returned to them through the devil that is Eren and now the ones who will pay the most for this adult hubris is the children. 
The profoundness of this speech even causes Karina to come to a realization of how she used Reiner, making her break down and declare how she was never a good mother to him, with Annie’s father saying he was the same way with his daughter.    
Her breakdown made it all the more epic when Reiner transformed at the end to fight Zeke’s Beast Titan, which Eren appears to be controlling through the Warhammer Titan. 
There were a lot of predictions about how Eren would take out the airships heading for him at the end of the last chapter. 
I guessed that he would use the Warhammer Titan to create spears for the Wall Titans to throw at the airships like javelins. 
However, nobody predicted that Eren would use Zeke to do it. 
It just goes to show how unpredictable Isayama can be with his story. 
Now that Zeke is back, it looks like Levi is completely ready to take him on, so it will be interesting to see how their longstanding rivalry ends.  
The true star of this chapter for me though was surprisingly not Eren, Levi or the unnamed, bearded general who gave the brilliant speech, but Onyankopon. 
Seriously, the guy did an incredible job avoiding the debris sent flying at them by a controlled Zeke. 
Onyankopon refused to bail out with the Alliance, instead flying them as close as he could to Eren so they could have the best shot at beating him, planning to make an emergency landing once they had jumped out of the plane. 
I just hope he can survive now, since he has served his purpose in the story of delivering the Alliance to the final battle. 
Speaking of, we finally know what the final audio that was displayed at Attack on Titan’s final exhibition was all about.
Seeing Armin jump out of the plane and yell out, “Eren!”, just like he did in that audio, gave me goosebumps. 
The chapter then ends with the Alliance fighters landing on Eren, and Armin stating that he plans to ask Eren how he is free once he rips him from his Titan. 
This is a triumphant ending to “In the Depths of Despair”, which, in all likelihood, will not remain very triumphant as the endgame plays out. 
This is the final battle and I, for one, fear that a lot of main characters deaths and a lot of heartbreak will come as the story concludes.  
Overall, Chapter 134 is another incredible chapter of Attack on Titan. 
The first half is full of despair, with the suffering of children being put on full display, while the second half is an epic and triumphant beginning to the final battle than will, sadly, most likely end in tragedy. 
It looks like we only have one more volume left of Attack on Titan, with the story potentially ending at Chapter 138 or 139, and I am prepared to be emotionally destroyed by it.  

My Hero Academia Chapter 290: Dabi’s Dance, Review – The Greatest Chapter Yet.

5 stars
Even though I’m a manga reader, I decided in the past not to review every chapter of My Hero Academia, due to the chapters coming out on a weekly basis.
I didn’t want to get too far behind on other reviews I had planned but there were definitely some chapters I considered reviewing, especially from the most recent arc, which I can already say is the best arc of the story so far, even though it hasn’t ended yet.
And, of course, the best arc just had the greatest chapter of My Hero Academia so far, a chapter so amazing that I just couldn’t not review it, Chapter 290 “Dabi’s Dance.”
It was so amazing that I was more hyped about it afterwards than the latest Attack on Titan chapter.
And, since Attack on Titan is my favorite story, that should show you how amazing I think the chapter is.
You probably already know the big twist of “Dabi’s Dance.”
It was trending all over Twitter, during one of the most controversial presidential elections in US history, no less.
However, it’s not difficult to see why this occurred because Chapter 290 finally confirms one of the biggest My Hero Academia fan theories, that Dabi is Touya Todoroki, the supposed dead son of Endeavor and brother of Shouto.
Not only this but the reveal also comes a full 100 chapters after Dabi first met Endeavor in Chapter 190.
Now, when I started reading the manga over a year ago, I kind of fell down the rabbit hole of the Dabi being Touya fan theory community.
There was so much evidence that Dabi being Touya was basically treated as fact by the entire fandom, myself included.
So, if everyone knew that the twist was coming then it should have been pretty much impossible for the writer, Kohei Horikoshi, to amaze us with the revelation, right?
Wrong, because “Dabi’s Dance” is the perfect example of a predictable twist not being a bad thing.
I’ve always found twists that I have guessed to be very rewarding so long as they are well written, and the Dabi twist is incredibly written at that.
Dabi literally brought all of hero society to its knees single handedly, just by talking.
The revelation that Endeavor abused his family and drove his own son to villainy may be the final crack that shatters the glass holding hero society together.
The build up to this twist is incredible, as the chapter starts with Rei Todoroki seeing her scarred son when Skeptic hacks his video that reveals the truth about Endeavor onto every screen in Japan.
This is an extremely important moment because Rei was getting better and about to leave the hospital but, now that she’s learned that her son is a deranged mass murderer, this could set her recovery months, even years back, if she ever recovers at all.
Then there is Natsuo and Fuyumi, whose reactions we haven’t seen but are likely to be just as devastating, especially Natsuo’s because he was so close to Touya before his “death.”
The contrast between Dabi revealing his identity on TV to revealing his identity to Endeavor is also striking.
On TV, Dabi is poised and collective but, in front of Endeavor, he is cruel and gleefully maniacal, and dances in a moment that is extremely reminiscent of Todd Phillips’ Joker and, as someone who loves that film, I can say that this was a fantastic homage.
Dabi also reveals just how ruthlessly smart he was in preparing for this moment, sending Starservant and Ending after Endeavor, all to build him up as a hero to make his fall all the more painful.
I cannot wait until this moment gets adapted in the anime, just to see how the voice actors of Dabi, both Japanese and English, say such fantastic lines like, “The past never dies!” and, “So let’s tango, you and me – Enji Todoroki! A dance with your son, here in hell!”
Accompanying these terrific lines are some truly excellent panels that show off Horikoshi’s great art style, from Dabi removing his hair dye to reveal his identity, to his manic face, to Endeavor and Shouto’s shocked reactions, it all looks fantastic.
Along with the Dabi reveal, we also get some great moments from characters like Shouto and Nejire, who team up in the beginning to try and take down Shigaraki, before Gigantomachina inevitably arrives to rescue his master.
Bakugo is also conscious in Iida’s arms but, despite him saying he wants to achieve an “Absolute Victory”, with how injured he is, I doubt he can do much.
Yet, the end of the chapter does show that the plane which is theorized to be bringing Best Jeanist is almost there so maybe Bakugo will get to do something to show off to his mentor, before revealing his hero name.
The real highlight of this chapter though is definitely Dabi’s reveal, due to the implications it has for the rest of the story, as shown by the brief look at Endeavor’s biggest fan Can’t-Ya-See-Kun reacting to Dabi’s revelation.
I am extremely intrigued to see how the rest of the public will react not just to Endeavor’s past but to their newfound distrust of hero society as a whole.
One thing I have my fingers crossed for is that the next chapter will be “Touya Todoroki: Origin”, explaining what exactly happened to Touya and how he became Dabi in the first place.
There are a few missing pieces to this puzzle and I hope the next few chapters can resolve them as the story dives head first into the Todoroki family conflict.
“Dabi’s Dance” is my favourite chapter of My Hero Academia so far and has instantly propelled Dabi to one of the most interesting characters in the story.

Eden of the East Review: A Fantastic Beginning That Falls Off Slightly at the End.

4 stars
The last anime we watched at my university anime club this year, Kenji Kamiyama’s Eden of the East was an anime that instantly got my vote to watch for its hilarious and intriguing first episode.
This is probably the first thing that will strike you about Eden of the East: its mystery.
The anime follows Akira Takizawa (Ryōhei Kimura), who awakens with amnesia outside the White House, naked and holding a gun.
The first person he encounters is Saki Morimi (Saori Hayami), a woman on her graduation trip who is surprisingly helpful to the naked man with a gun.
This is the basic premise of the first episode and the situation is as hilarious as it sounds.

The hilarity of Takizawa and Saki’s first meeting had the whole anime club roaring with laughter.

What was also a nice surprise of this first episode is its quality in the voice acting, especially from the English-speaking characters.
Whenever characters speak English in anime, they are usually voiced by people who don’t usually speak the language so it becomes rather hard to take it seriously.
Eden of the East does the opposite of this, having plenty of English speaking voice actors accompanying the Japanese cast and I appreciate the show for putting in the effort.
Another thing I appreciate is the great bond between Takizawa and Saki, which is kind of surprising since how they meet, with Takizawa being naked and with a gun, would result in any clear headed person running for their lives, but not Saki.  
What most likely helps lessen the notion of improbability that their growing relationship has on the viewer is the two’s fantastic chemistry, with their bond being a highlight just two episodes in.

Takizawa and Saki’s bond is fantastically done despite its incredibly unlikely origins.

So, with these two great characters and an intriguing plot that could be particularly hilarious at times, I was all for seeing where the mysteries of this show would go.
And, honestly, I was slightly disappointed.
That is not to say the ending of the show is bad, it’s still pretty good.
But I much preferred the first few episodes, which set up the mystery, rather than the last couple of episodes that ended the show in a pretty rushed fashion.
For example, Takizawa does something in the final episode that Saki does mention in narration during the first episode, however, other than this initial narration, I don’t think there was any other setup for this happening.

Despite having some scenes that felt way too implausible and an ending decision that felt kind of abrupt, I still really enjoyed Eden of the East.

Despite my problems with the ending of the show though, I know this is not the end of the story because there are apparently two movies I need to see to know how this whole mystery of the game that Takizawa has become involved in wraps up.
According to the people I’ve talked to, these movies weren’t particularly well received but I’ll have to judge that for myself when I get around to it.
In any case, I found Eden of the East to be a solid show, all in all.
The chemistry between Takizawa and Saki is great, the humor is top notch, and the mystery does keep you intrigued throughout, even if I felt the story did not work in places, especially with the end to the show.
Still, I have the movies to check out so I hope they can wrap up the mysteries that were laid out in the first few episodes well.   

 

 

Attack on Titan Chapter 134 Predictions.

After the meeting in Paths between Eren and the Alliance in Chapter 133 of Attack on Titan, 134 looks set to be the last chapter before the final battle begins.
With this final battle fast approaching, there are a lot of possibilities for what could happen in the next chapter.
Probably the biggest but easiest question to answer from Chapter 133 comes from the cliffhanger, this question being,

Do the airships stand a chance against Eren?

The end of “Sinners” saw a group of airships approaching Eren’s massive Titan to bomb him but, honestly, does anyone really expect them to cause any significant trouble for Eren?
They’ll probably only serve as a way to slow him down to give time for the Alliance to reach him for the final battle.
If anything, the more interesting question is how Eren will take care of them?
I think the most coolest way for him to get rid of them would be to create spikes with the Warhammer Titan power and then use the Wall Titans to throw them at the thirteen airships like javelins.
That should make quick work of them.
Of course, all it would take is one bomb from the airships to kill Eren but, given that he has the Warhammer Titan power, I don’t see him being in the nape.
Like the Alliance guessed, he is most likely elsewhere.
It would be kind of funny if he was still on Paradis.
That would really screw the Alliance’s chances of defeating him.
In all honesty though, there is only one way that I can see the airships causing any significant damage to Eren before the Alliance gets to him.

Will the army have created their own ODM Gear?

Back in Chapter 107, Zeke showed Kiyomi the ODM Gear and mentioned that it was a Marleyan project.
Since then, there has been no mention of it so what if the Marley government has been secretly developing it for the perfect usage.
This could be that usage as soldiers on the airships could use their ODM gear to attack the Wall Titans.
Granted, they’d still all get fried like Hange did but it could be a way to slow the Rumbling down significantly.
Of course this could have just been a throw away comment and we could see nothing like this.

Will the plane only be half fueled play into the story?

At the beginning of Chapter 133, Onyankopon mentions the plane only being half full because they didn’t have the time to completely fill it up with the approaching Rumbling.
Granted, Onyankopon did say he would get the Alliance there no matter what but the plane only being half full is rather ominous.
I don’t see any of the key Alliance members dying next chapter but Onyankopon’s purpose in the story is to fly the plane so, now that he’s fulfilling that purpose, this could be the moment where he bites the bullet.
I can see him just about to run out of fuel as the Alliance reaches Eren and use the last of that fuel to kamikaze the plane into Eren with the explosives, giving the alliance a chance to fight him.
Guess, we’ll just have to wait and see if this happens next chapter.

Will we see Zeke?

And now we have the question that every reader has been asking for months.
Where the heck is the monkey?
Seriously, we’re about to enter the final battle and we have yet to see where Zeke is.
All signs point to him being inside Eren’s Founding Titan form, with even the Alliance guessing this but we don’t have visible proof.
Well, with the final battle probably about to begin in the next few chapters, I think Chapter 134 would be the perfect time to reintroduce Zeke.
The chapter could start with a brief flashback to Chapter 122, where we see him get absorbed into Eren’s Titan and see his perspective of the Rumbling.
With Zeke introduced back into the plot, we can then have more buildup for his final showdown with Levi and potentially Connie as well.
Another interesting thing to note is that if Zeke really is in Eren’s Titan then he is probably close to his grandparents, who are most likely in the train heading for Fort Salta with the rest of the Eldians from Liberio, so they could possibly have a final scene together.
Speaking of these characters…

What is the purpose of the Liberio Eldians?

“Sinners” revealed that many of the families of the Warriors, including Annie’s, Gabi’s, Falco’s, Pieck’s, and Reiner’s had escaped from Liberio on a train lead by Annie’s father.
He has led them to Fort Salta but, as soon as they reach it, the airships they were planning to use to escape fly off to confront the Rumbling, just as it arrives.
This puts all these Eldians in a very dangerous situation.
Now, I don’t expect them to die before the Alliance arrives because what would be the point for them to die without their families seeing?
However, after the Alliance does make it, all bets are off.
I honestly have no idea if they’ll live or not.
They might all survive, they might all die, or some might live and some might die.
If Onyankopon doesn’t end up going full kamikaze on Eren’s Titan then he could pilot an airship that takes these families to safety.
Whether this ends up happening or not though, the one thing I am certain of is that Annie will reunite with her father.
Although, this reunion could go either way with it being happy or tragic.
My money’s on tragic, knowing how Hajime Isayama said he wants to hurt the reader.

Will Falco succeed in transforming into the Bird Titan?

After all the jokes and fan theories about Falco becoming a flying Titan, Chapter 133 actually revealed that Falco could most likely do this because of how he ingested the Beast Titan’s spinal fluid.
While slightly flawed in its setup, I am happy that this is happening because it means Annie, Falco, Gabi, Yelena, and potentially Kiyomi can be there for the final battle.
The question is though, can Falco really do this when he has no experience flying before?
While this may seem a bit abrupt, it’s practically assured that he’s going to learn to fly next chapter or, at the very latest, Chapter 135.
Isayama wouldn’t set up Falco doing this just for it to not payoff.
So, the boat crew will most likely be off on Falco’s flying Titan next chapter to probably save the Alliance at the last minute, similar to how Zeke helped Eren at the end of Chapter 117.
All of this makes me excited for the Chapter 134, which I am sure will end with the Alliance reaching Eren to commence the final battle.

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.