Tales of Berseria Review: Best Tales Game I’ve Played So Far.

5 stars
Coming into
Tales of Berseria, I was optimistic yet cautious about how my experience would be.
I had heard good things about the game, however, I knew that Berseria was a loose prequel to Zestiria and I found that game to be a bit of a mess with its mostly bland cast and story, and needlessly complicated system.
So, imagine my relief when I was in the first few hours of Berseria and was already ten times more invested in the characters, story and gameplay than I ever was with Zestiria.
In fact, I would go as far to say that this is my favourite Tales game that I have played so far, even beating out Vesperia.
Developed once again by Bandai Namco, and directed by Yoshimasa Tanaka, Tales of Berseria follows the story of Velvet Crowe (Cristina Vee, English Dub), a Daemon on a mission of revenge to take out the man who took everything from her.
Velvet’s quest for vengeance is a gripping one that sees her go through quite the character arc.
Many say her character arc stagnates until the last ten hours of the game and, while I can see what they’re saying, I personally liked a lot of the subtle moments we got from her before this point.

Even when her character isn’t developing, Velvet has a lot of subtle moments that kept me engaged with her character.

Velvet being like this also gives the game time to get you acquainted with the likeable party members.
There’s the sweet as a button Malik Laphicet (Amber Conner), the virtuous Exorcist, Eleanor (Erica Mendez), the fighting addicted Daemon, Rokurou (Benjamin Diskin), the wise yet cursed Malik, Eizen (Taliesin Jaffe), and the sly and eccentric witch, Magilou (Erica Lindbeck).
All of these party members are great to be around and fun to watch grow, with my favourites probably being Velvet, Laphicet and Eleanor. 
It’s also cool how, unlike with pretty much every Tales game, you could be considered to be playing as the villains here.
Overall, would I say I enjoy the main cast as much as I do Vesperia’s?
No, I still like that cast a little more but it’s still close, and given how much I love the main party of Vesperia that is saying a lot.
Two things that Berseria definitely has over Vesperia in terms of characters, though, is its antagonists and supporting characters.
In Vesperia, with the exception of Duke, all of the villains were one dimensional and boring, along with most of the side characters.
This is not the case with Berseria where every single villain is great, especially the main antagonist Artorius (Ray Chase), and many of the side characters, like Dyle and Kurogane, are very memorable. 

Artorius is a fantastic antagonist who perfectly encapsulates the themes of the game.

The story surrounding these characters is also amazing and suits them and their arcs well, with the theme of emotion vs reason.  
Heck, I think the story was so good that it actually made me appreciate Zestiria a lot more.
Seriously, even though I find Zestiria to have a lot of flaws, I would actually recommend playing it before Berseria because, if I had played Bersiria first, then a lot of the fantastic twists and connections with Zestiria would have meant nothing to me.
Speaking of which, I also enjoyed how Berseria expanded on some characters from Zestiria, most notably Zaveid (Ian Sinclair).
I liked him in Zesitiria, but he had no development there.
Berseria, on the other hand, gives him that development, showing how he got to be the way he was at the beginning of the other game and how his pact with Eizen was forged.

Zaveid is a standout side character in Berseria with his dynamic with Eizen being particularly greart.

The final thing I will praise about Berseria’s story is how it was able to bring so much emotion out of me.
I was shocked at certain points, excited at others, laughed with the characters, and even teared up during one incredibly emotional moment between Velvet and Laphicet.
The story and characters of Berseria are just amazing but what about the gameplay?
Well, I am glad to say that you can finally listen to what I have to say about Tales’ gameplay without a pinch of salt because I finally figured out how to play one.
I was new to the series with Vesperia, so was naturally pretty bad at the gameplay there and Zestiria’s was way too complicated for me, but I actually managed to get a good handle of Berseria’s.
I figured out how to power up the characters and their weapons, how to cook, send scout ships, and what play style suited me best.
All in all, I can say that the gameplay for Berseria is a lot of fun.
Each character is unique in their own way and it is fun to rotate which one you are playing.
I mostly found myself playing as Velvet and Eleanor because I found that their play styles worked the best for me. 

Close range, long distance, a mixture of both, each of the characters offer one of these play styles.

One criticism I can give, though, is that Velvet’s demon claw attacks are pretty over powered and it is very easy to constantly spam it if you have the right amount of souls to attack.
Speaking of the souls system, I have heard some criticize it but I personally enjoyed it because it made me have to think tactfully about how I would tackle different enemies.  
As for those enemies, a lot of them were pretty fun to fight and some even offered a unique challenge, like one ridiculously funny level 100 boss, who is thankfully optional.
About the final boss, I actually found them to be pretty easy but that is only because I was enjoying the game so much that I finished most of the side quests before I went and fought him.
The gameplay isn’t completely perfect, though, because dungeons in this game are pretty bland and empty, with the exception of the final one.
That said, this didn’t affect my own, personal enjoyment because I was loving the rest of the gameplay, characters and story too much.
If you like JRPG dungeons, though, you will most likely be disappointed with Berseria’s.
I, however, felt that the game’s few negatives were easily overpowered by its many positives.
I can definitely see myself returning to this game and replaying it again and again in the future. 

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Thirteen, Children of the Forest Review: An Intense Adaptation for an Underated Chapter.

5 stars
I really loved Chapter 111 of Attack on Titan when I first read it and I think it is one of the most underated chapters in the entire manga.
So, imagine my excitement to see it so well adapted in the thirteenth episode of the final season, “Children of the Forest.”
Directed by Yasuhiro Geshi and Kōnosuke Uda, the episode picks up first with a scene from Chapter 110, which many feared was cut, that being Zeke’s flashback revealing what he did to Ragako village.
The scene opens with the village being consumed by gas, fanned in by Marleyan soldiers, with Zeke and Pieck in attendance.
Once the smoke hits them, all of the villagers, Connie’s family among them, collapse and are unable to move.
Zeke then Titanizes them with his roar, just like he did back in the first episode of this final season.
However, Zeke’s explanation of these events and how he supposedly did it to save Eldia clearly does not satisfy Levi, understandably.
Levi believes Zeke to have not a shred of guilt over his actions, which is not helped by Zeke’s good mood.
This does lead to a pretty humorous scene, though, where Zeke assumes Levi must not be very popular with the ladies.
Oh, Zeke, if only you knew the extent to which Levi fangirls will go.
This comedic and on the nose moment is quickly interrupted, though, as soldiers arrive to inform Levi of Zachary’s assasination at the hands of the Yeagerists.
With that, the episode transitions into the adaption of Chapter 111, as Gabi, Falco, Kaya, and the Braus family arrive to taste Niccolo’s excellent cooking in remembrance of Sasha.
It is here that Gabi and Falco plan to make contact with Niccolo based on Kaya’s advice, all of them still unaware that the woman Gabi killed was Sasha herself.
The tension of this reveal slowly builds as Falco begins to realize something is amiss, and Hange and the 104th arrive to question Niccolo.
However, the impending reveal to those characters close to Sasha that Gabi was the one who killed her is not the only case of growing tension here, because now the wine is coming into play.
I did criticize how easy it was to guess that there was something up with the wine in Episode Ten, when it was more subtle in the manga, but now I would like to rescind this criticism.
It being made fairly obvious that the wine was poisoned with something made the scene where Jean and Connie almost take a sip very nerve-racking.
Thank goodness Niccolo had the foresight, and the added kindness thanks to Sasha, to stop them from doing so, although he did end up using Marleyan racism to cover it up.
This leads to the big conflict of the episode, as Gabi and Falco follow Niccolo when he retreats with the wine and confront him, telling them that they are Warriors candidates who snuck aboard the airship when it was fleeing Marley.
This, of course, tips Niccolo off and he asks the big question: “Did you kill someone? A female soldier.”
Well, any smart person would find this question odd, considering Niccolo is a Marleyan, who have pretty much all been brainwashed into hating Eldians.
This is why Falco picks up on it.
Gabi, on the other hand, oh boy, her brainwashed brain cannot take a hint.
With every word out of her mouth she keeps digging her metaphorical grave deeper and deeper.
You can really see how indoctrinated Gabi is, as she almost seems to be seeking praise from Niccolo, a Marleyan, for killing Sasha.
However, praise is certainly what Niccolo has in mind.
No, he’d much rahter perfer a wine bottle smash to the skull for her.
It’s Falco who takes the blow, though, jumping in front of Gabi and taking the hit but also ingesting the wine.
The soundtrack during this scene is also straight up fire.
Niccolo is much more focused on Gabi than the injured Falco, delivering her a beating off screen, before throwing her before the Braus family and exposing her as Sasha’s killer.
It’s here that the best voice acting of the episode is showcased.
Ayane Sakura again does a magnificent job as Gabi but Eji Hanawa steals the show as Niccolo, who mournfully and furiously explains how Sasha saved him from this war and taught him that he was supposed to make people happy with his food.
Gabi hits back by telling him of the people Sasha killed, claiming that it is actually she who brainwashed him, ironic coming from her.
Mr Braus understandably looks sickened to hear such a despicable thing about his daughter and requests the knife from Niccolo.
The terrified eye movements of Gabi and Mr Braus’ contemplative face here, almost as if he is considering actually killing Gabi in an act of revenge, are animated incredibly well.
However, revenge is not what Mr Braus ultimately wants, as he shows exceptional maturity for a mere side character, giving one of the best speeches of the series about how, as adults, it is their burden to carry and move on from their sins to get the children out of the forest.
The forest, in this instance, being a metaphor for the cruel world and cycle of violence that our characters struggle with daily.
With this, Mr and Mrs Braus convince Niccolo to let Falco go, followed by Mr Braus asking if Gabi is alright.
This shocks Gabi right to the core of her being, as she sees these supposed devils concerned for the very person who killed their daughter.
Well, not all of them are concerned because Kaya is already moving head first into the forest, as she attempts to stab Gabi with a knife for the death of Sasha.
Only Mikasa’s Ackerman insticts save Gabi from a knife to the head.
The animation of Kaya being tackled to the ground and comforted by Mr and Mrs Braus is just great, as well.
Mappa did a really good job with the animation this episode.
With Mikasa and Armin moving Gabi to a safer place, we then get the big reveal of the episode from Niccolo.
Zeke’s spinal fluid is in the wine, and potentially hundreds of military officers among the Military Police and Garrison are currently infected.
Zeke lied at the beginning of the episode when he said that Eldians freeze when they ingest his spinal fluid, and this lie has caused those infected to be entirely unaware of their dangerous position.
The Scouts have absolutley no time to warn everyone, though, because who else should show up but Eren and the Yeagerists, and in a much more abrupt way than in the manga.
Rather than seeing Eren enter the room that Mikasa and Armin are talking to Gabi in, like in the manga, we just hear the door close and see him casually walk up to them, bloodly hand raised in a threatening manner.
It honestly reminded me of the abrupt Reiner and Bertholdt reveal from Season Two, it’s that great.
Just as entertaining is Floch’s arrival with the Yeagerists and Hange’s slow realization that they all knew about the poisoned wine.
Floch grinning at Hange and shushing her is a real improvement on the manga, making Floch look much more sinister than he does in the original source material.
Following this, we get the naturally frustrating cliffhanger of Eren saying he wants to talk to Armin and Mikasa, only for the episode to cut off there.
Well, at least the wait might just be more than worth it because tomorrow’s episodes is about to adapt two fantastic chapters which, with time, I have come to look incredibly favourably on.
If done right, the next episode could easily be in the top ten best episodes of the series.
As for “Children of the Forest”, in my opinion, it is a near perfect adaptation.
Great shots, animation, voice acting and music, it has it all.
I do wish a couple of manga panels, like a particular flashback shot of Sasha, had been included but these are not major things and did not decrease my enjoyment of the episode.
“Children of the Forest” is a fantastic episode and I have my fingers crossed that “Savagery” can be adapted to near perfection as well.

The Promised Neverland, Season Two, Episode Eight Review: WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME!?

3 and a half stars
Episode Seven of Season Two of The Promised Neverland was such a boring episode that I honestly forgot what happened in it not long after.
It wasn’t even so bad that I just had to talk about it, like with Episode Six, it was just extemely forgettable.
Therefore, I never really saw a point in reviewing it, since I could not remember anything about it.
Episode Eight, on the other hand, is definitley worth reviewing since it’s one of the better episodes of the season.
Definitley not quite as good as Episodes One and Two but certainly a lot better than Episodes Five, Six and that extremely pointless recap episode.
Directed by Hiroki Itai, the episode picks up with what should have happened in Episode Six, a flashback to Norman’s time in Lambda.
This is what we should have got instead of that god awful exposition scene, which was one of the worst instances of telling instead of showing that I have ever seen.
I still think that we could have used an entire episode laying out Norman’s time at the facility but it was still decent.
We also got to meet the main villain of the story here, Peter Ratri, who, as an antagonist, is servicable enough.
He’s nowhere near as interesting as Isabella, or the character who would have been the main antagonist of the season if the Goldy Pond Arc hadn’t been cut, but he’s still servicable.
All in all, this flashback is good but could have been more fleshed out.
I wish the anime had expanded on Smee a bit because he’s essentially a plot device to randomly justify Norman’s escape.
Despite these problems, it was still interesting to finally see how Norman escaped Lambda and formed his own little Suicide Squad.
From here, the episode cuts to the present where Emma, Ray and the others are searching for Mujika and Sonju, while Norman and his cronies are preparing to initiate their attack early.
It’s all fairly standard stuff to move the plot along and, as a manga reader, I was disappointed with how one intense shot of Norman was extremely simplified.
In any case, Emma and the others finally locate Mujika and Sonju, only for Norman to attack the demon village early and, just like that, the episode gets way better.
Watching the effects of Norman’s drug on the demons is a pretty big gut punch and the music is straight up fire.
But then my excitement is slightly ruined by yet another contrived scene, when Norman hesitates to kill a demon girl all because the grandpa demon shouts Martha– I mean Emma!
Jokes aside, this had to be a Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice refrence right?
It’s just too similar and just as convenient.
But hey, at least it leads into the final shots of the episode, where Emma arrives just in time and sees Norman as a scared child, which gave me literal goosebumps.
So, overall, there’s a lot of good and a lot of bad about the episode.
However, despite the episode’s problems, it just edges out into the good territory because of the Norman flashbacks and the intense final scene, even if there is a lot of convience there.
In my opinion, Episode Eight in the best one this season, since Episode Two.
However, you will definitley not see me being as kind about Episode Nine, oh no.
I just watched that episode and rather than just being just forgettable, like Episode Seven, it’s just plain bad, like Episodes Five and Six.
Expect a full on rant when I review that one.
Oh well, at least we got one good episode before the show descended into train wreck territory again.

Attack on Titan Chapter 138, A Long Dream Review: A Tragic What Could Have Been.

4 and a half stars
138 chapters, all building to this moment.
We finally got the penultimate chapter of Attack on Titan, “A Long Dream”, and, boy, is it a big one.
It’s funny looking back on my predictions posts because I can see how right or wrong about certain things I was and wow was I wrong about some certain character fates this chapter.
While thankfully not seeming as divisive as Chapter 137 was for The Attack on Titan fandom, “A Long Dream” has still made a substantial splash in the pool of various different opinions on the endgame’s quality, which is no surprise given the end of the chapter.
Some predicted it, and this chapter we seemingly got it, Mikasa just killed Eren.
Decapitated him and then spends the final chapter making out with the head.
Leave it to Isayama to make Eremika happen in the most messed up way possible.
Okay, okay, I know I’m clearly overexagerating on how far Mikasa goes in that final panel.
In all seriousness, I actually really like the scene and think that it makes a lot of sense.
Heck, it even got me tearing up at the moment when it paid off a scene from all the way back in Chapter One.
However, before we get to that, I first have to start at the beginning.
“A Long Dream” opens with the baby that was seen in one of my favourite panels in the manga, from Chapter 134, who is revealed to have survived the Rumbling at the cliff face, since the Wall Titans stopped when Levi killed Zeke last chapter.
Although, I would argue that the baby isn’t the luckiest among the group of survivors there.
No, that title goes to the random guy at the back getting pulled up by two other survivors just as the Rumbling stops.
If the Wall Titans had stopped just a second later, then this guy would be toast.
Literally the luckiest guy on earth.
From here, the chapter cuts to the aftermath of Armin going nuclear Colossal at the end of “Titans”, as Falco lands the Alliance atop Fort Salta and the Warriors are reunited with their parents.
Falco, Gabi and Pieck all reunite with their loved ones and Annie learns that her father is alive and goes to meet him.
But, this is Isayama we’re talking about, so of course this was never going to end in anything other than tragedy.
It would seem that the force of Armin’s explosion has launched the Hallucigenia into the bottom of Fort Salta, and Reiner and Armin arise from the destruction to destroy it once and for all.
However, Eren then transforms again, having survived Armin going nuclear as we all predicted, only this time he is in Colossal Titan form.
At the same time, Annie’s father and Muller have decided to work togethor, as it is predictably revealed that Muller fired into the air to calm the situation down.
Annie then shows up and their happy reunion is cut oh, so cruely short by the Hallucigenia, which Reiner sees releasing Titan smoke that will turn any Eldian who is not already a Shifter or has Ackerman blood into Titans.
This means that Jean, Connie, Gabi and all of the Warriors families are now infected.
Thinking quickly, Levi orders Mikasa and Pieck to get onto Falco so they can go and put an end to Eren.
Left behind at the Fort to Titanize, Jean and Connie embrace and reflect on their times in the Survey Corps, with Jean having adopted the mindset of leaving their legacy to those who live on for them.
Connie also jokingly tells Jean that it is his fault they got stuck with the job of saving the world, before they and all the other Eldians transform.
While this goodbye to two Survey Corps veterans is very emtional, I can’t help but wish we got an extra page of them saying their goodbyes to Mikasa and Levi, and Falco saying his goodbyes to Gabi.
I mean, I know that there wasn’t much time because they were all about to turn but we saw pretty much no reaction from Mikasa about her long-time friends being Titanized.
The scene is still great but I just wish it had a little more time spent on it to deliver a more emotional gut punch.
Another slight criticism I have is the paneling of this scene, specifically where Falco is concerned.
When they are flying away from Fort Salta, Falco screams in anguish at the loss of Gabi and his parents and this has caused many to jump to the conclusion that Falco turned everyone into a Titan with the Beast Titan’s power, which he may have recieved from Zeke’s spinal fluid.
However, this doesn’t make any sense to me.
Falco would never turn his parents or Gabi into Titans, and it also couldn’t have been by accident because he does not have the means to use Zeke’s technique, lacking royal blood.
So, it seems like this is just a case of mistaken intent and Isayama definitely should have structured this scene differently to make it clear that Falco’s scream didn’t Titanize everyone.
There is another complaint about this scene, which I have been hearing, that it is out of character for Eren to turn Jean and Connie into Titans because he wanted them to “live long lives.”
However, I believe this does make sense because it is not Eren transforming them, it is the Hallucigenia.
In Chapter 137, Zeke described the Hallucigenia as Life itself, stating that it had the sole purpose of surviving and multiplying.
Armin and Reiner had backed the Hallucigenia into a corner so it did the only thing it could to survive: turning everyone atop Fort Salta into Titans, so that they could lead it safely to Eren, where it could connect with him again.
So, this scene does work because it is not Eren doing this but the Hallucigenia.
As for Jean, Connie and Gabi, can they turn back into humans?
Well, I think Isayama could go either way in the final chapter.
Jean and Connie’s goodbye feels pretty final but it doesn’t seem to fit into Gabi’s character arc for her to just stay a Titan forever or be killed as one.
Guess we’ll just have to see what happens in Chapter 139.
I’ll admit, a part of me wants them all to stay gone for emotional impact, while the part of me that loves their characters just wants them to come back and live long lives.
Like Bertholdt, though, I feel like I can accept any outcome for them.
Annie, however, cannot accept the ending she got with her father which, in predictable Isayama fashion, seems to conclude with her father being Titanized right in front of her.
The cruel world strikes once again with Isayama as its puppet master.
That leaves Reiner, Pieck and Annie to deal with the Hallucigenia and its Titan army, and Mikasa, Levi, Armin and Falco to bring the fight to Eren at long last.
Beginning with an epic moment, where Armin accuses Eren of loving this hell and saying he will stick it out with him until the very end,the two engage in a Colossal Titan beatdown.
I can’t remember where but I’m sure that I mentioned wanting a Colossal Titan fight somewhere in an earlier predictions post and I’m so glad we finally got one near the end of the story.
As Armin and Eren duke it out and Reiner, Pieck and Annie slowly begin to be consumed as they struggle to hold the Hallucigenia back from its master, another headache hits Mikasa full swing, somehow launching her into some kind of dream world or alternate universe.
In this world, Mikasa confessed her feelings for Eren in Chapter 123 and the two ran off togethor and abandoned everyone, deciding to spend Eren’s remaining years togethor.
There has been a lot of debate online about whether this is an alternate universe or just a dream world.
Honestly, I think it’s most likely the latter because it being an alternate timeline doesn’t really make sense considering that if Eren had run off with Mikasa then he never would have convinced his father to eat the Reiss family, essentialy undoing his Titan powers all togethor.
I should note, though, that someone suggested to me that both timelines could coexist at the same time and, if this is the case, then it would allow for Eren to have manipulated Grisha into stealing the Founding Titan, while in the seperate timeline Eren ran away with Mikasa.
Still, I’m leaning towards the dream theory, mostly because of a leaked storyboard that appears to state that this is solely Mikasa’s “ideal” world and Eren.
I could entirely be wrong about this, though.
Yet, even if this is a dream, there is no denying that it is a shared one between Eren and Mikasa.
Eren’s true self seems to show up part way through the dream and tell Mikasa to throw away the scarf when he dies so she can forget about him.
This is most likely why Eren told Louise to throw away the scarf all the way back in Chapter 126.
However, this is not something Mikasa can do because, even though she now accepts what must be done, she will never let go of the memory of the man she loves.
Mikasa resolves to kill Eren, somehow knowing that Eren is in the mouth of his Colossal Titan, most likely because Eren telepathically told her through the shared dream.
With Armin holding Eren’s head in place, Levi is able to blow a hole in his Colossal teeth with a Thunder Spear, allowing Mikasa to dash in.
Eren’s head is dangling from his extended spine, as seen at the end of Chapter 131.
As Eren opens his eyes, he seems to smile at Mikasa, most likely showing how sadly happy he is that Mikasa will never forget him, despite his insistance.
Mikasa shares the smile and swings her sword.
Then, we get the big moment.
“See you later, Eren.”
We now finally know what Eren’s dream at the beginning of the story means, 138 chapters later.
He was experiencing a memory from the Attack Titan of his goodbye to Mikasa in their dream world, when Mikasa was forced to kill him.
Just like that, I tear up and move onto the final panel… only to be shaken out of any potential tears with the image of Mikasa kissing Eren’s decapitated head and Ymir looking on smiling.
Jokes aside, I see some people trying to paint Mikasa as a necrophile here but it’s pretty clear to me that she was experiencing the dream world when she kissed Eren here and this was her way of saying goodbye to him.
This also seems to all imply that Eren felt similarily towards Mikasa, as it wasn’t really clear before.
Well, this makes the chances of Eren being the father of Historia’s child significantly lower but fingers crossed that Isama can still make this happen because I think it really works for Eren’s character.
Back to the final panel of the chapter, let’s talk about Ymir watching Mikasa kiss Eren.
I believe this is important for two reasons.
The first reason is that it shows how Ymir desires love.
We saw this all the way back in Chapter 122, when she stopped to stare at two of her enslavers getting married.
The second reason it is important is that, in my opinion, it shows that Ymir is finally, truly free.
We have only seen Ymir’s eyes twice before this point and both of these times are when she is experincing freedom.
She chose to side with Eren in Chapter 122 and we saw her choose to release the pigs in Chapter 135.
Now her eyes are uncovered yet again in the last panel of “A Long Dream.”
Whatever Eren has achieved by getting Mikasa to kill him, (I do believe that was his goal given how much he tried to get her to move on from him, like by lying to her that he hated her) it has resulted in Ymir’s freedom, which may very well end with her being reborn as Historia’s child in the final panel.
As for Eren, I believe this is it for him.
His conciousness may survive in Paths, like what with happened to Ymir but, as far as the physical world is concerned, he is definitley dead there.
The final chapter will most likely cover his and Ymir’s true motivations and what they will result in for Paradis and the world.
This last chapter is rumoured to only be 45 pages, though, so I hope Isayma can wrap up his story in so little pages in a satisfying way without it feeling rushed.
Overall, “A Long Dream” is a truly fantastic chapter for Attack on Titan, and a great prelude to the final one.
I do think some things could have been better, like rearranging or removing Falco’s scream, so some readers would not be confused, and adding an extra page to give Jean, Connie and Gabi’s potential goodbyes more of an impact.
Yet, these criticisms do not change my mind that this is a fantastic chapter and I cannot wait to see how my favourite story will end next month.

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Twelve, Guides Review: The Corruption of Shinzou wo Sasageyo.

4 and a half stars
You know, I was pretty excited for Episode Twelve of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Guides.”
It was set to adapt one of the most hype scenes in the manga with Eren’s escape from prison and meeting up with Floch and the other Yeagerists, putting on his coat as the sun sets and ready to keep moving forward.
Then, the scene happens, and it’s just as epic as I hoped it would be.
So, imagine my surprise when I see people are once again harassing Mappa over their displeasure with this scene.
Well, no, I shouldn’t say surprised because I’m pretty sure these toxic people (I will not call them fans) will find something stupid to harass Mappa over pretty much every following episode.
If you didn’t like this scene, though, again, just like the people who didn’t like Chapter 137, that’s A-ok with me.
I just want certain groups of people to stop being toxic with their displeasure to the point that they are literally harassing people.
Back to the episode itself, “Guides” is directed by Kunihiro Mori and adapts most of Chapter 110 and half of Chapter 111 pretty amazingly.
Beginning with Armin checking up on Annie in the basement of a military police base, Hitch shows up just in time to stop him from going all Shinji Ikari on her.
In all seriousness, Armin’s hurried explanations to hide his crush on Annie and Hitch saying she can’t understand why Annie is popular when all she does is sleep, which is basically Isayama talking to the viewer, are both very funny.
However, the tone switches when Armin and Hitch emerge from the basement and see a rabid crowd of Eren supporters protesting his imprisonment.
Floch and the other recruits leaking the information about Eren’s escape definitley damaged the public’s faith in the military and this is only increased by what happens after.
Before this, though, we get two scenes of investigations done by Hange and Pyxis.
The first is Yelena finally cracking under the pressure and admitting to Pyxis that she met with Eren.
She tries to paint herself as a fangirl, obsessed with getting to know Eren, which, to be fair, she was, but she is not able to pull the wool over Pyxis’ eyes to hide the true extent of her and Zeke’s plans.
As Pyxis says, the only way to tell a good lie is to mix some truth in there.
Yelena revealing that she did meet with Eren leads to Hange confronting Onyankopon about this, much to his shock.
He then tells Hange about the extremes Yelena went to when it came to dealing with Marleyans who betrayed them or were at least uncertain with their plans.
This makes it unusal that she has been supportive of Marleyan rights on Paradis, Hange notes, which will play a key role in her decision at the end of the episode.
Following this scene, “Guides” cuts to one of the episode’s big moments, as Armin and Mikasa go to talk with Zackly (or is it Zachary? Oh, nevermind) about potentially speaking with Eren.
Zackly, however, is having none of it, having already given up on Eren because he and the rest of the military now believe that Eren is under Zeke’s control.
Now, Zackly plans to pass Eren’s Titan power onto someone else… after he tortures him with his magnificent work of art that is.
Yet, Zackly is smart enough not to let Mikasa in on this but Armin manages to deduce it pretty quickly.
Before Mikasa can go in and listen to Zackly’s conversation with the candidates, though, her Ackerman senses go off and she has just enough time to cover Armin, as a bomb, on Zackly’s chair of all things, explodes, killing Zackly and his candidates to replace Eren.
The military’s commander in chief’s mutilated body then splats on the ground, in full view of the protesting public but, unfortunately, not in clear view of us due to censorship.
To be fair, censorship is nothing new in Attack on Titan and the way its shot makes it clear that Zackly was torn apart by the explosion, so the horror of the moment is thankfully still kept.
Another moment that also translates well in the adaptation is the corruption of Erwin’s catchphrase “Shinzou wo Sasageyo!” translated to, “Devote Your Hearts!”
Erwin used this to rally his troops to fight for humanity, but now it is being used to rally behind a rapidly growing, naitonalist terrorist group, the aptly named Yeagerists, with Eren at its head.
Speaking of, it is here that we come back to the previously mentioned coat scene, where Eren escapes jail, along with Floch and the rest of the Yeagerists, and heads off to find Zeke.
I really like the way this scene was shot, scored, voice acted, and transitioned into the mid-card.
In my own, personal opinion, it was a perfect adaptartion for the scene.
Following the mid-card, we get the beginning of the adaptation of Chapter 111, with the hectic meeting between the military officers and Kiyomi, which quickly dissolves into arguing, mostly at the fault of the Military Police.
Thankfully, Pyxis is there to resolve the situation, and comedically suggest they surrender to Eren.
There is a serious intent behind this, though, because Pyxis realizes that with the threat of Marley and the rest of the world now faing Paradis means they cannot have infighting, so he plans to negotiate with the Yeagerists by putting Zeke’s location on the table.
Some, like Hange and Kiyomi, are clearly not as assured by this, which is made apparent for Kiyomi when she approaches Mikasa and suggests she come to her ship if things go wrong.
Mikasa cleverly confronts her about her intent to use Paradis’ resources but Kiyomi surprises her by telling Mikasa that even though she is considered a “money pinching vixen” she still has the honour to protect Mikasa for her clan.
As for Hange, her doubt about the situation is shown by her belief that there is more to Yelena and Zeke’s plans, spurned on by Yelena’s suspicious actions, like vouching for Marleyans when she was so ruthless with them before, as I mentioned earlier.
This causes her to lead the 104th to Niccolo’s restaurant to interivew him where, surprise, surpise, Gabi and Falco have just arrived with the Braus family.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the episode ends with the cliffhanger reveal of Pieck having arrived in Paradis, likely planning Marley’s surprise attack, which Reiner advocated for at the end of Episode Ten.
In my opinion, “Guides” is another fantastic episode for Attack on Titan‘s final season and Mappa are doing a great job, especially when you consider the rough production schedule they are suffering through.
Sure, some of the shots in the episode, like one of Mikasa running, do look a little off but they are nowhere near as offputting as Pyxis’ Megamind head in “A Sound Argument.”
The one big criticism I do have about the animation is a continutiy mistake where Eren is shown in his Yeagerist outfit in a flashback.
However, this could potentially be fixed in the Blu-Ray.
All in all, “Guides” is another great episode that adapts one of Attack on Titan‘s best hype moments very well.

Tales of Zestiria Review: This One’s a Mess.

2 and a half stars
I played my first Tales game,
Tales of Vesperia, almost a year ago, when my country went into lockdown because of the pandemic.
Although I struggled with the combat and found the game pretty outdated in certain areas, I still enjoyed many of its aspects, especially its main cast of characters, which probably puts Vesperia in my top ten video game casts.
So, upon stumbling across Tales of Zestiria in a store I, naturally, had to buy it.
Going in, I knew that Zestiria was considered to be one of the weakest games in the series but, wow, is this game a bit of a mess.
Honestly, when I started planning this review it was initially going to be a positive one but, just like my The Rise of Skywalker review, I came up with so many negatives that I couldn’t justify giving this a positive review.
That’s not to say there aren’t good things about Zestiria because there certainly are but the bad and mediocre do outweigh that good here.
Developed by Bandai Namco, and directed by Yuuta Hase and Mari Miyata, Tales of Zestiria is set in the mythical land of Glenwood, where mystical beings known as Seraphim but cannot be seen by human, except for a mere few who have the resonance to do so.
However, a dark force produced by humans, known as Manevolence, threatens both them and the Seraphim, turning them into monsters known as Hellions.
This is where the Shepherd comes in, the mythica hero capable of seeing Seraphim and purifying the Hellions.
Our hero is Sorey (Robbie Daymond, English Dub), the next Shepherd who, along with his close friend and Seraphim Mikleo (Michael Johnston), sets out to purify the world of Manevolence and stop the evil Lord of Calamity who controls the Hellions.

Following this opening prologue, the game delivers an epic opening, “White Light” by Superfly.

The first thing I will say about Zestiria’s story is that it is incredibly generic, with not much of a driving force.
It’s a typical good guys vs bad guys story, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for so long it feels like the characters are just wandering around with no clear direction.
Granted, Vesperia had a pretty generic story as well but what it did have in its favor was a clear direction, helped by a fantastic set of characters.
In comparison, Zestiria’s characters are pretty boring and have little to no character development.
Sorey is a hero who is always saved from making the hard choices, Mikleo probably has the most striking lack of character development considering what he learns about his past, Alisha (Alexis Tipton) was completely wasted, Lailah (Carrie Keranen) is pretty annoying and hides crucial information for dramatic effect, and I found Dezel’s (Chris Nioso) story to be pretty problematic with his abrupt “redemption.”
I at least liked Rose (Caitlin Glass) and Zaveid (Ian Sinclair) but, again, they have little to no character development.
The one member of the main party who I found to be a great character was Edna (Kira Buckland) who, even though she didn’t have a lot of development, is just hilarious and her presence alone makes the boring characters interesting for at least a couple of scenes.

Edna instantly won me over with her introduction and she is the game’s most insteresting and funny character.

Then there’s the main villain, The Lord of Calamity, Heldaf (Patrick Seitz), who is also incredibly boring but at least has the benefit of a backstory, which made him slightly more interesting than boring.
Speaking of that backstory, though, having to collect all of the Earthen Historia to find out his past and actually progress the game was such a chore.
With that, I now have to get into the gameplay, which, oh, boy, is also a big mess.
I said in my review of Vesperia that I struggled with its mechanics because I was new to the series and Zestiria really did not help this with how needlessly complicated its leveling up and attack system is.
It often left me scratching my head about what exactly I was supposed to do and, even after completing the game, I’m not entirely sure.
Still, I did like the Armitization parts of the gameplay, although I can see some people’s complaints about how they limit your choices in combat, with the player being forced to keep Sorey and Rose in combat.

While the Armitization system does limit gameplay optinions, it is, at the very least, enjoyable.

I also found the final boss to be pretty rewarding in terms of difficulty, so there was that.
I’m just glad we got to fight it an open area and not an inclosed one, since I never would have beaten the final boss if that happened because the camera is really bad in Zestiria.
Seriously, whenever I entered a dungeon and I had to fight an enemy in a tight corridor, the camera would constantly get stuck and I would have no idea what was happening, more often than not resulting in the party’s inevitable death.
So, overall, Tales of Zestiria is quite a mess.
There’s certainly good things, like some of the character interactions, mostly due to Edna, and I found some bits of combat, like Armitization and the final boss, to be rewarding.
However, the story is extremely generic and has no drive for a while, the characters are mostly boring and have no development, and the gameplay is needlessly complicated with a horrible camera in tight spaces.
At least this game resulted in Tales of Berseria, which I just finished and cannot wait to review because I loved it.
As for Zestiria, though, in my opinion, there’s no better word to describe it than a “mess.”

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Eleven, Deceiver Review: Oh, Boy! Here I go Killing Again!

4 stars
Oh, Gabi, Gabi, Gabi.
Why must you further enrage the Attack on Titan community?
Even though I think Gabi is a great character, I did find myself wanting to slap her in the eleventh episode of the Final Season, “Deceiver”, although that was pretty much the point.
Directed by Teruyuki Ōmine, the episode title refers to many characters, from Floch, to Reiner, to Zeke, to Kaya, to, of course, Gabi and Falco, who are the main decievers of the episode.
This is made clear right from the get-go, as Gabi fakes a seizure to lure a guard into her and Falco’s cell and beat him unconcious with a rock so they can escape… or at least it was implied that he was unconcious in the manga.
Curiously, in the anime they decided to make it abundantly clear that Gabi had killed the guy, who Falco clearly points out was trying to help her.
Gabi goes even further, planning to kill Kaya if she doesn’t buy into her cover story, when the girl stumbles across her and Falco.
She even actually does attempt to kill her, when she learns that Kaya herself was deceiving them because she knew they were from Marley the whole time.
I’ve seen someone use the Rick and Morty “Oh, boy! Here I go killing again!” gag to describe Gabi and it’s funny because it’s absolutley true.
Despite this, I still don’t hate Gabi.
Again, I did want to slap her when she was blaming Kaya, her mother, and their ancestors for all of their suffering but I still know that Gabi is a brainwashed girl, indoctrinated by Marleyan propaganda.
In any case, she seems to have suffered the first blow to this indoctrination in “Deciever” through experiencing kindness from Sasha’s family, with neither Gabi nor Sasha’s parents knowing that she killed their daughter, and Kaya logically breaking apart Gabi’s arguments about the Eldians supposed sins before tearfully demanding an answer.
This results in the final blow for Gabi’s first pillar of indoctrination by the end of the episode, as Kaya offers to help Gabi and Falco get back to Marley by taking them to see Niccolo because she knows that Sasha would help them and she wants to be just like her.
Following this emotional moment, we get the post credits scene of Reiner and the rest of the Warriors beginning to plan their attack on Paradis.
This continued one of the earliest scenes in the episode, where Reiner woke up and demanded to know where Gabi and Falco were.
Reiner may have been suicidal earlier but now he has a new purpose that keeps him living: rescuing Gabi and Falco.
This causes him to criticize Magath’s plan to wait six months for Marley and the other countires of the world to create a global alliance to attack Paradis because Zeke would have undoubtedly made a plan by then.
His announcement that they need to launch a surprise attack on Paradis immediately makes for quite the cliffhanger.
Also, it is pretty funny that the shot cuts to him when Porco wonders how Zeke could have betrayed them.
Reiner’s own sins as a deceiver are always right in front of him, with him constantly being reminded of them through one way or another.
Speaking of reminders, Hange is forced to remember how the corrupt Sannes told her that she would basically be taking his place eventually all the way back in Season Three.
Whereas once Hange fought to let the people know everything the government was hiding from them in the Uprising Arc, she now has to lie to them until she knows all the info that there is, bringing more distrust down on her and the new government.
This is not helped by Floch and a bunch of recruits leaking information about Eren’s arrest.
Now that Floch has seen Eren acting like a devil, just like Erwin, he is fully on his team, a stark contrast to how he was against him at the end of The Return to Shiganshina Arc, showing just how much Floch perception of Eren has chanhged over the four year time skip.
It’s not just Floch, though, because many others are on the side of Eren, including Louise, the girl Mikasa saved all the way back in Season One.
Now devoted to following Eren, based on Mikasa’s example, Louise’s dedication in spite of military law causes Mikasa to remember Eren saving her all those years ago, through a mysterious headache.
However, Eren saving Mikasa is now painted in an even darker lens than it already was in that first season.
Eren has always been capable of committing atrocities and this flashback makes it very clear, even though the people who kidnapped Mikasa and killed her parents pretty much deserved it for what they did.
Along with Floch and Louise, there’s also Yelena, who is almost certainly involved in Eren’s schemes, based on Pyxis’ findings, yet, so far, she’s keeping her mouth closed.
There are a lot of decievers in this episode, making the title quite fitting, which is funny because it was actually swapped with the next episode’s title “Guides.”
While “Deceiver” does fit nicely for this episode, I wonder if “Guides” will end up doing so for Episode Twelve, considering that I can’t quite think of a way in which that title will suit its events.
Either way, “Deciever” is still a really good episode of Attack on Titan. 
Not only does it have some great, emotional scenes for many of the titular decievers, but it also came with some fantastic animation, especially for the backgrounds.
The episode did make me want to slap Gabi but, again, I’m pretty sure that’s the point.

The Promised Neverland, Season Two, Episode Six Review: A Terrible Case of Tell Don’t Show.

two out of five
It’s funny how a couple of episodes has been enough for me to pretty much lose all hope for The Promised Neverland Season Two.
Episodes Three and Four did concern me with all of their cut content, including the best character in the entire story being removed, but I was hopeful because of new scenes given to characters who needed it, like Isabella.
However, then Episode Five happened, cofirming that they had skipped the Goldy Pond Arc, causing everything to make absolutley no sense, including Norman’s return, which was incredibly rushed.
Then there was last week’s “episode”, where they just pointlessly recapped the entire story, including everything in season two for some weird reason, and that would have been completley pointless to do a review on.
Now, we have what looks like the final nail in the coffin for me: Episode Six.
Wow, was this a bad episode.
Directed by Yoshiki Katai, this episode commits the cardinal sin that almost every story should avoid completley, instead of when absolutley necessary, by telling instead of showing.
After Emma and Ray’s reunion with Norman, which lacks any emotion because of how short he has been gone in the anime, Norman goes on a long exposition spiel about what he’s been doing for the past year.
He explains how he was taken to be experimented on at a place called Lambda, how he escaped with the help of someone called Smee, who was then killed, and has since created a drug that he plans to use to cause all demons to degenerate, with all of this happening off screen.
This scene has to be one of the worst cases of telling and not showing that I have ever witnessed.
I will give the anime some credit, though, because this was not entirely its fault.
From what I recall, the manga did not show many of these events either and Norman just explained it through an exposition scene as well.
So, this poor moment is partially the manga’s fault and the anime is just adapting it.
However, the anime still does it way worse because even in the manga we do see at least some of Norman’s time in Lambda, what lead him there, and his plan actually makes sense because he has the means to do it.
Here, he has none of the resources he had in the manga so his plan to eventually use this drug to degenerate all demons is just stupid.
Just as annoying is Emma’s response to this because most of her character development has been cut along with the previous arcs.
Emma’s trauma and now wanting to find a way to make peace with the demons makes very little sense in this episode because it lacks any context because of these cuts.
This makes the attempted emotional moment where Ray convinces Emma to go and talk to Norman ring extremely hollow.
Speaking of Emma and Ray going to talk to Norman, it is here that we are officially introduced to his crew of Cislo, Barbara, Vincent and Zazie.
Honestly, I never really cared for these characters in the manga.
If anything, I actually found them all rather annoying, so it’s a very bitter pill to swallow for me that these are the characters the anime decided to adapt, instead of the likes of Yuugo, Lucas and Leuvis.
Barbara especially got on my nerves, what with her crazed rant at Emma, which, again, makes no sense because Emma has not gone through any events that would make her feel this way, like she did in the original story.
At least this leads into the one redeeming quality of the episode, where Emma and Ray tell Norman about Mujika and Sonju being able to survive without eating humans, causing Norman to look horrified, calling Mujika the “evil blooded girl.”
It makes for a good cliffhanger, which will surely have anime only viewers speculating.
Other than this, though, Episode Six is a flat out terrible episode, full of rushed scenes, annoying new characters, character incosistency, and one of the worst cases of telling instead of showing.
I now have very little hope for the rest of this adaptation and am honestly not looking forward to Episode Seven, or any other subsequent episode for that matter.
I hate to say it but The Promised Neverland Season Two is getting the Tokyo Ghoul treatment.

Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Ten, A Sound Argument Review: Historia’s Sacrifice.

please fucking work
I remember reading Chapter 107 of Attack on Titan and feeling quite disappointed with the direction Hajime Isayama took Historia’s character.
To me, the idea of her sacrificing herself and any children she would have went against everything that her character development in the Uprising Arc was about, so to see her pregnant for this sacrifice plan really did not sit well with me. 
Thankfully, with the benefit of hindsight as a manga reader, I now look on this scene, and the potential it has for the end of the story, a lot more favourably. 
Historia’s sidelining after this point, though? 
Well, I am pretty sure that I will always believe that was a mistake. 
In any case, Episode Ten of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “A Sound Argument”, adapts both Chapter 107 and 108 well, albeit with a few hiccups.
Directed by Kaori Makita, the episode follows up on the serious cliffhanger from “Brave Volunteers”, which featured Eren standing in front of a mirror in his jail cell and proclaiming that he has to fight.
This is continued in the episode with a not so serious beginning, as Hange interrupts Eren’s talk with himself and humorously comments on it. 
I had honesty forgotten how funny Hange could be but seeing her scenes adapted in the anime really drove it home for me, especially with this scene. 
Just take a shot everytime she says “fight” during this conversation. 
You will pass out in a matter of seconds. 
It’s not all humorous, though, as Hange switches to serious, reminiscing on her talk with Eren about Titans, all the way back in Season One, and how he let her ramble on and on about pointless things. 
However, these happy times are no more, unfortunately showcased by Hange’s next line about how she believed Eren would never sacrifice Historia. 
From there, the episode delves into the flashback that puts Zeke’s supposed plan to save Eldia into motion. 
This comes from a flashback of the Volunteers introducing Paradis to an ally, Kiyomi Azumabito from the nation of Hizuru. 
It is through this flashback of her meeting those on Paradis that we learn not only the effect Zeke’s plan will have on Historia but also of Mikasa’s “importance” to Hizuru as well. 
It is revealed that Mikasa in actually the descendant of a lost Shogun from Hizuru and thus essential to the nation. 
This is proven through a tattoo Mikasa has on her hand. 
Now, while my opinion about Historia’s pregnancy in the manga has become more positived of the years, my opinion on this scene has not, and the anime makes its reveal a little more problematic. 
Mikasa being the descendant of a long lost Shogun always felt a little too convient to me, what with five Titan Shifters and the heir to the throne all coincidentally coming from the same training corps. 
Not onlt this but Mikasa being important to Hizuru has so far amounted to absolutley nothing in the manga. 
The anime makes this reveal even weaker with how its revealed, although that is not be entirely Mappa’s fault. 
You see, Mikasa having this tattoo should have been set up all the way back in Season One but, for whatever reason, Wit decided to remove it. 
So, now that the tattoo is revealed in this episode, it has absolutley no buildup and feels like a retcon. 
Following this reveal, we get a brief happy scene with Historia, where she is excited for Mikasa being important because it means she has someone to relate to. 
Eren then slides in all smooth and comments that Historia looks happy, to which she replies that she is.
You know, just to drive the knife deeper into her hearts when she looks so unhappy with her pregnancy later in the episode.
The plan for this pregnancy is revealed in the flashback by Kiyomi, who reveals that Zeke gained her trust by gifting her with ODM Gear, which he got from Mike, who he gruesomely murdered all the way back in Season Two.
With the Ice Burst fuel as a resource, Zeke gives Hizuru a reason to get in bed with Paradis: profit.
This causes Mikasa to realize she is a pretext pretty easily and it is following this that Kiyomi reveals Zeke’s plan to save Eldia but also sacrifice Historia and her descendants.
Paradis will need 50 years to catch up with the rest of the world’s military technology and, in order for the island not to be attacked during that time, the threat of the Rumbling must be maintained. 
Therefore, the Founding Titan and a Titan of royal blood must be passed down, meaning that Historia must have children who will then be sacrificed to the same fatal cycle that her family subjected themselves to for centuries, which, again, goes completley against all of Historia’s character development. 
Historia agrees to this nonetheless and this is where Eren steps in, furiously proclaiming that Zeke can take his plan and shove it. 
Eren’s reaction is a lot more volitle than it was in the manga here and I am personally all for that. 
This violence is then continued when the episode cuts back to the present and Eren angrily attacks Hange, after telling her that since he has the Warhammer Titan, he can escape anytime he wants. 
Eren furiously demands to know if Hange has some kind of backup plan, as Titan marks and sparks briefly flash up his face. 
Hange backs off, playing off Eren’s lunge as a perverted move, before showing the audience how she feels depressed about the state of things, as she tells herself that Erwin made a terrible choice making her Commander.
After this scene, we get the big reveal of Historia’s pregnancy, with her looking dead inside, and a mysterious farmer telling her she needs to take better care of herself. 
This farmer is apparently the father, according to members of the Military Police, including Nile, who are shown enjoying some wine togethor, before one drunk guy starts committing blasphemy by degrading Historia. 
In all seriousness, this part of the episode was another problem I had with Historia’s pregnancy in the manga. 
Historia just gets togethor with a random farmer who we have never seen and have no reason to care about, and also bullied her as a child, contributing to her suicidal ideology when we first met her in the story? 
If the farmer is the father then, in my own opinion, this reveal was pretty poorly done. 
However, notice that I said “if” because there are a lot of signs for this being a red herring. 
Some of these signs, like Historia being said to have never married the farmer and also a panel of a mysterious, hooded figure watching Historia talk to the farmer, were cut in the actual episode. 
Still, there are enough signs to make anime only viewers question it, just like us manga readers did. 
Only time will tell if we are reading too much into these supposed signs or not.
One thing that is made explicitly obvious rather than just a sign, though, is Niccolo with the wine. 
In the manga, this moment was subtle and some people did not pick up on it. 
In the episode, however, Niccolo giving the Military Police officers the wine is highlighted by dark lighting and threatening music. 
It makes it very obvious that something is up with the wine and I do wish it had been kept more subtle. 
After this obvious scene, we get yet another flashback, to one of the last times Eren and his friends were truly happy, as they built a railway togethor, accompanied by a humorous background moment of Armin trying to stop Sasha from drinking all their water. 
Levi and Hange show up, giving us another funny moment when levi is offended by how much taller the 104th has become, before Hange delivers the bad news that Hizuru is not willing to help Paradis negotiate with other nations because it wants their resources. 
This most likely means they will have to sacrifice Historia, something that is already happening in the present time of the episode. 
Yet, Hange has not given up hope and suggests sneaking into Marley to try and make connections because surveying is what the Scouts are all about. 
This excites many of the 104th as they ride back on the train, which leads into a heart warming scene of them all discussing who should get Eren’s Titan when his 13 years are up. 
Mikasa volunteers first but Jean counters this because she is still important to Hizuru and they don’t know if the Ackermans can become Titans. 
Jean then says he would be best but Connie also counters this by saying he is too important and offers to take on the burden himself. 
Next comes Sasha, who tells Connie that he is too much of an idiot to handle the responsibility, so she will do it, even though she doesn’t want to. 
Connie fires back, declaring that she is just as much of an idiot as he is. 
This leads to them both proving themselves idiots, as they comedically state, “Eh?” to each other in confusion. 
Eren breaks this comedy by deciding he will not give the Titan to any of them because he wants them all to live long lives, leading to a whole lot of embarrassed blushing among the 104th, to which Armin blames on the sun after Jean yells at Eren about it. 
Following this happy, heart warming flashback, it cuts back to the darker times where Mikasa, Armin, Connie and Jean are all reflecting on Eren’s actions, which lead to Sasha’s death. 
Connie is particularly angered about this because of Eren laughing when he got the news, not aware that this is how he handles grief, and says they may have to cut Eren down if it comes down to it, which horrifies Mikasa.
Armin also says that the military may be planning to give Eren’s Founding Titan to someone they can trust, as the episode ends with shots of a suspicious looking Eren in his jail cell and even more suspicious Zeke at his “hotel”, still under careful watch from Levi.
Overall, “A Sound Argument” is a decent episode of Attack on Titan. 
There are some great moments, like Eren and Hange’s scene and the flashback between the 104th. 
However, some things I personally didn’t really like from the manga, like Mikasa’s convient importance that is actually not all that important, are kept and sometimes made weaker. 
There are also a few animation issues here and there, like Pyxis’ bulbous head, which had a lot of people comparing him to Megamind.  
Still, all in all, “A Sound Argument” is an enjoyable episode.

Talentless Nana, Manga Review: Please, Give Us a Season Two.

4 stars
I really enjoyed the first season of
Talentless Nana.
Based on the manga by Looseboy, it was a fun show to watch, where the twist of the very first episode was that the superpowered individuals we were following were actually being hunted down by a normal person to save humanity.
Watching Nana trying to covertly murder all of her classmates, while being constantly under suspicion from wannabe detective Kyouya, only to slowly begin to realize she is killing innocent people, made it extremely fun to tune in every week.
So, once the first season was over, and seeing that it was unlikely we would get a season two because of the lackluster Blu-Ray sales, I decided to give the manga a read and it did not disappoint.
Picking up from where the season one finale ends, the manga details the aftermath of the traumatic events from that finale on Nana’s psyche, and how she slowly comes to realize the full weight of her crimes.
Nana’s character development is great, as is her growing bonds with the other characters, especially Jin, who I have a theory about, which I will get into down below because it contains spoilers.
Back to Nana herself, she has many fantastic moments of growth, especially after yet another traumatizing and horrifying reveal for her that shatters her entire world view and causes her to temporarily snap entirely.
As for the other characters, many of them are very well handled, especially the new and returning characters.
The new main antagonist of the story, Nana’s mentor, Tatsumi Tsuruoka, is a fantastic villain, who gives off a very threatening presence.  

This intimidating first panel of Tsuruoka’s face sure makes one hell of an impression.

Although, this praise of the characters being said, the author still has a problem with introducing many of these characters because they are just introduced like they’ve always been there when we’ve never seen them before.
It’s very clear that Looseboy comes up with these characters on the spot.
The only new ones who have a well built in introduction are Tsuruoka, Moe and one other character.
Speaking of which, I’m about to get into spoilers for the manga now so, if you’re anime only, then just take my word for it that the manga is really good and stop reading at this point.
Now then, this other character I’m referring to is actually something I was worried about coming into the manga.
I had heard rumors that the character Nana murders in the first episode, Nanao Nakajima, was actually alive somehow.
When I heard this, I was very much against the idea.
Nanao was a purposeful red herring in that first episode, being a bland protagonist cliche who existed to just get killed by Nana for the twist.
I really wanted the impact of his death to stay and didn’t think his character would be strong enough to get me to like him if he came back.
Well, I shouldn’t have doubted Looseboy because Nanao certainly came back and it was in the best way possible.
I love how he has been crafted into an antagonist for Nana, now that she is finally beginning her redemption arc, which will undoubtedly create a rocky road for this redemption in the future of the story.

Watching Nanao go from cliched Deku clone to bruding villain has been very interesting, to say the least.

Another element of the manga that surprised me was the revelation that Jin is actually, well… not Jin.
“Jin” is just the form he’s been showing to Nana and everyone else to fight them off with telekensis if need be, and he has been keeping the real Jin, who is in a comatose state, safe.
So, who is the fake Jin, then?
Well, this is the part where my theory which I mentioned earlier, comes in.
I believe that the fake Jin is actually Kyouya’s missing sister.
Her Talent was probably Transformation and she used this ability to win the civil war and keep the fake Jin alive, before acting like she was the real Jin to try and uncover the conspiracy.
There are some holes in this theory, like that fake Jin doesn’t really seem to be that interested in Kyouya, which he would be if he was actually Kyouya’s sister, but this could just be to keep him safe.
It will be interesting to see if my theory about Jin is correct or not as the manga goes on. 

Whether fake Jin is secretly Kyouya’s sister or not, I’m looking forward to the reveal of who he actually is.

Overall, I would say that the Talentless Nana manga is quite an enjoyable read, despite its problems with features like character introduction.
I hope that, despite the low Blu-Ray sales, a season two will get the green light, so I can see all of the great moments from the manga adapted.