Attack on Titan Chapter 122 Predictions.

When I made my prediction post for Chapter 121 of Attack on Titan, I thought a lot of those predictions were good and likely to come true.
But then the chapter came out and, in typical Hajime Isayama fashion, he did something completely different that changed the entire story in the best of ways again.
Because of this, I highly doubt that any of the predictions I subsequently lay out for Chapter 122 will turn out to be right.
Still, I want to do my best at coming up with possible ideas as the manga heads to its inevitable conclusion.

Is the boy seen in Eren’s memories from the future?

My first prediction ties into the memories seen when Zeke grabbed Eren’s decapitated head in Chapter 120.
We have seen all of these memory images except for two.
The first of these is of a crying Historia, dressed like she was in Chapter 108.
This leads to me believe that the image of her is Eren possibly revealing his plan to her and then convincing her to get pregnant.
The second, and more prominent image, is of a mysterious boy wearing a fez hat.
There are a lot of theories about who this boy is; from a young Rod Reiss, to someone from the Tyber family, to a young Tom Xaver.
I bought into that last theory because I thought that it was a memory of Xaver from Kruger’s perspective, proving they were working together.
However, no such reveal came in Chapter 121 and, along with the reveal that Eren can see into the future with the Attack Titan, this has me wondering if the boy is from the future after the conflict has ended.
This would be a great way for Isayama to foreshadow that ending, but it still raises questions about who the boy is.
In the season finale of Attack on Titan‘s third season, the credits provided us with many mysterious images, one of which shows a group of children wearing strange suits.
Some have speculated this is Gabi and her friends but they do not have armbands on so this also has me wondering if they are from the future and the boy somehow ties in with them.
None of the kids are wearing a fez hat, though, so that undermines this idea slightly.
You know who do wear fez hats in Attack on Titan?
The Mid-East Allied Forces who the Warriors fought at the begginning of the Marley Arc.
This could point to the boy coming from one of their countries but I struggle to see how this would make the boy important enough to be one of the biggest memory panels so, again, this seems unlikely.
Whoever this boy is, I am sure he will turn out to be important because of how much space he takes up on the memory page.

Will we see the memory of Grisha being eaten?

My only issue with Chapter 122 was that it made no sense for Grisha to give Eren the Founding and Attack Titan when he asked Zeke to stop him.
However, I did not hold this against the chapter because Isayama is known for explaining plot holes away with explosive reveals many chapters down the line.
This has me wondering if he will explain why Grisha gave Eren the powers as the story draws to a close.
One thing that I think supports that we will see this later is Eren’s comment after he and Zeke leave their father’s memories, with Eren telling his brother, “you haven’t got to the part where I eat our old man yet.”
I find it very curious that Eren would say this.
Of course, he could just be trying to agitate Zeke but this seems counterproductive, considering Zeke is the one who currently controls Ymir.
Instead, I think this is Eren saying that Grisha’s memory of being eaten by Eren conveys his reason for giving his son the power, and that this will be significant to how the series ends.
For example, Grisha could later be shown the aftermath of the “ghastly” event he saw, which convinces him to pass on the Titan powers to Eren.
As a result, Eren could have thought that showing Zeke this would make him change his mind about sterilizing all Eldians.
That said, I have since given up on my theory of Zeke coming to Eren’s side so I am unsure if he will get to see this potential memory.
If we do get to see the moment where Eren eats Grisha, though, I believe it will have importance to how the manga concludes.

What is “that sight” Eren saw?

When Eren talks about the future he saw in Grisha’s memories he describes it as “that sight” with a look of anticipation on his face.
Eren clearly views what he saw as something good, which probably means he saw some kind of freedom for his people.
However, this could be bad considering a happy ending for the Eldians will probably mean everyone else gets an unhappy ending, with the Rumbling being used to destroy the entire world.
The sight Eren saw is probably the aftermath of this with the Eldians being free.
However, we cannot take whatever Eren saw and the way he views it at face value.
Just because Eren thinks he can achieve freedom for his people does not mean he will.
He could have very easily misinterpreted his future memories.
As Zeke said, Eren has not seen the entire future, just a part of it.
This means he could be viewing a good part the future but one surrounded by a whole bunch of terrible events.
The final panel revealed by Isayama seems to hint as some kind of positive ending; however, I am thinking this ending will most likely be bittersweet.
For example, maybe Eren does manage to grant freedom to the Eldians but at such a massive cost that many begin to wonder if it was worth it.
Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see how Eren’s future memories come to pass and if he was correct or not in his interpretation of them.

What will happen when Eren touches Ymir?

Chapter 122 concluded with Eren running to stop Ymir from initiating Zeke’s euthanasia plan, only for Zeke to tell him that it is impossible to do this.
Eren is seconds away from grabbing Ymir at the end of the chapter so it is safe to say that the next one will begin with Eren touching her.
I believe this will have a massive impact because, even though Zeke is currently the one using the Founding Titan, that power still lies within Eren.
So, him grabbing her could have a wide range of consequences.
Most excitingly, it could lead to the origins of the Titans finally being revealed.
Eren could see Ymir’s memories of how she became the first Titan Shifter and how she ended up dying, followed by her ending up as a slave in the Path dimension.
He could even end up communicating with Ymir like he did with Grisha in convincing him to slaughter the Reiss family.
By this I mean that Eren could turn out to be the devil from Marleyan propaganda who gave Ymir her power.
However, a counter point to this is that Eren does not have all nine Titan powers so it would not make much sense at this stage for him to give the power to her.
Another idea I have is that Eren communicating with Ymir could eventually set up him freeing her from the Path dimension, causing her to reborn as Historia’ child.
For more on that idea you can look at my predictions for Chapter 121, where I laid out my theory for Attack on Titan‘s ending.
One thing I definitely think is going to happen from Eren grabbing Ymir, though, is him regaining the power of the Founder and initiating the Rumbling.
From here, the manga will enter into its final stage as the characters try to deal with this cataclysmic event.
In any case, with Eren set to come into contact with Ymir in Chapter 122, the stage is set for some possible explosive reveals that I cannot wait to see.
At this rate, every single chapter of Attack on Titan for the past 11 chapters has had a jaw dropping moment, and I am sure Chapter 122 will continue this tradition as the manga heads towards its conclusion, be it a happy, tragic, or bittersweet one.

Violet Evergarden Review: Prepare to Cry.

4 and a half stars
Well, this left me an emotional wreck.
Seriously, I had heard what a tearjerker Kyoto Animation’s Violet Evergarden was but that in no way prepared for the multiple cry inducing episodes.
Directed by Taichi Ishidate, and based off the light novel written by Kana Akatsuki, the anime is set in the complicatedly named, fictional country of Leidenschaftlich, which is dealing with the aftermath of a war.
The story follows the titular Violet Evergarden (Yui Ishikawa, the voice of Mikasa from Attack on Titan), a child soldier who lost both her arms in the war and knows only of orders, and nothing of emotions.
After the death of her commanding officer, the only person she had feelings for, which she does not understand, Violet decides she wants to discover what “I love you” means.
To help learn this, Violet decides to use her mechanical arms to become an Auto Memory Doll, someone who ghostwrites for a person who cannot put their feelings into words.
From here the anime takes an episodic approach as Violet writes for multiple people, resulting in tear inducing episode after tear inducing episode.
Episode ten in particular is an emotional gut punch.

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You will often find yourself crying alongside the characters in Violet Evergarden.

If you are not crying at the end of that episode, like I was, then I would wonder if you are as emotionally separated as Violet at the beginning of the series.
Speaking of Violet, I have heard some people criticize her for being completely emotionless in the first few episodes, thus, making her unable to relate to.
Personally, I found this be untrue.
While Violet does indeed appear to be lifeless in the first few episodes, with her constant deadpan expression, this ties into her inexperience with feeling emotions and, as she grows throughout the season, you see a change in her.
When you compare how Violet is from the beginning of the season to the end, the difference is like night and day.

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Violet’s journey to discover what “I love you” means takes her from being an emotionless doll to a feeling human being.

Accompanying Violet’s great character arc, through this emotional story, is the fantastic animation.
My jaw dropped on multiple occasions in the first few episodes because of how amazing it all looked.
The animators definitely deserve applause.
There is one aspect of Violet Evergarden that I did find to be problematic, though.
This was the relationship between Violet and her superior officer, Gilbert Bouganvillea (Daisuke Namikawa).
It is revealed in episode five that Violet is only 14 years old, and, concerned by this, I went to check online and, yep, Glibert is 29.

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The fact that Gilbert is 29 while Violet is 14 makes their potential relationship problematic for me.

Now, I know their relationship is not technically illegal because the legal age of consent in Japan is 13 but, for someone who comes from a country where that age is 16, I find their relationship to be slightly creepy.
It was only slightly because the relationship does not feel exploitative but rather just the writers exploring a relationship that is legal in their country.
All in all, the nature of Violet and Gilbert’s connection left me with conflicting feelings because of this.
Again, I understand it is legal but Violet’s age still bothers me, and I wish they would have made her a bit older to clear up this feeling.
However, despite my issues with the main relationship, Violet Evergarden is still a masterful work.
It has a fantastic story, with amazing characters and themes, all supported by gorgeous animation.
This all combines to create a brilliant anime that will make you cry multiple times.
Unfortunately, season two has been delayed due to the tragic Kyoto Animation arson attack but, hopefully, they can bounce back and deliver another great season in memorial for all the lives lost.

The Dark Crystal Movie Review: The Puppet Film that Traumatized Many Children.

4 stars
After watching the prequel series to Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s The Dark Crystal movie on Netflix, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, I decided to check out that original film again.
It had been a long time since I had seen the film.
I think I was about eight the first time I watched it with my dad, and I have fond memories of it giving me nightmares of melting Skeksis faces.
In any case, the fact I remembered quite a bit about it years after watching it shows how well crafted of a film The Dark Crystal is.
The story is set in the fantasy world of Thra, where a young Gelfling named Jen (voiced by Stephen Garlick), who is thought to be the last of his kind, is sent on a mission to heal the Dark Crystal and stop the Skeksis from ruling the world.

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Jen is given his quest by his old Mystic master.

Along the way, he surprisingly encounters another Gelfling, named Kira (voiced by Lisa Maxwell), who joins him on his quest.
The big thing that separates The Dark Crystal from other fantasy stories is that all of its characters are portrayed by puppets, which are amazing for the time.
Although, sometimes it can be a bit uncanny, the puppetry is great for the Skeksis, especially the Chamberlain (voiced by Barry Dennen) who has perfect facial expressions.
And, just like the prequel series, the Chamberlain is my favourite character.
He was the character I remembered the most coming into that series and there is a reason for that.
He is such a weasel in the film, being one of cinema’s greatest backstabbers, in my opinion.

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The Chamberlain’s puppetry is surprisingly expressive, highlighting his duplicitous nature perfectly.

The lore of The Dark Crystal is also great, with the connection between the Skeksis and their counterparts the Mystics being highly interesting.
That does not mean the film is flawless, however, because I did have one big issue after watching it.
That issue is Jen, who is quite a bland protagonist.
He is the typical, chosen one who does not really do all that much.
In all honesty, he pretty much gets helped the entire way and does almost nothing until the end.

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Kira has to do everything for Jen, making her the more capable character.

Still, the problems with Jen do not limit this film’s grand scale and other interesting characters, helped by the magnificent puppetry.
The Dark Crystal is a great fantasy film, with a lot of imagination behind it.
I just feel sad after watching this again, now knowing for sure that the prequel series can only end in tragedy.

Attack on Titan Chapter 121, Future Memories, Review: Eren is a Monster.

5 stars
One of the things I love about Attack on Titan is how it presents scenes with simple meanings and then expands on them years later, giving them a completely new and much more interesting context.
Such can be seen in Chapter 121, “Future Memories”, which expands on numerous moments from the series in the best way possible.
Who would have thought that the scene where Eren saw his father’s memory of killing the Reiss family, when he kissed Historia’s hand, would go on to contain one of the most pivotal reveals of the manga so far?
Well, it does because it is revealed in this chapter that the Attack Titan has the ability to interact with memories from the past and the future.
This results in Eren convincing Grisha to kill the Reiss family and then showing him a memory of a “terrifying” future, which Eren ended up seeing all the way back when he kissed Historia’s hand.
So, Eren has known for four years what will happen because of his actions.
This gives so much new meaning to not only that scene from Chapter 90 but to every other scene with Eren leading up to Chapter 121.
Remember the ocean scene where Eren talked about them killing their enemies so they can be free?
Now we know Eren said that not because he thinks he will have to do it but because he knows he will have to do it, based on what he has seen.
It has finally been revealed why Eren was such a different character post time skip.
This also basically confirms exactly what Eren is planning to do with the Founding Titan power; initiate the Rumbling to destroy the entire world so Paradis can be safe.
Although this has yet to be officially confirmed, it all adds up.
It is further supported in this chapter by Grisha saying that Eren’s dream is “such a terrifying thing.”
This, in no uncertain terms, makes Eren a monster.
Even if his reasoning behind this act is to save all of his friends, he still appears to be planning to kill literally billions of people to make that happen.
Just because his reasoning is not monstrous does not mean his actions are not.
His goal appears to be so extreme that it even got me to support Zeke over him for a second.
Let me reiterate that, Hajime Isayama actually got me to temporarily support a plan that involves sterilizing an entire race of people because it is the lesser of two evils.
That is how complex the story has become; basically showing that no matter how this story ends it will not be the happily ever after many, including myself, are desperately hoping for.
No, it will most likely end with Eren destroying the world to keep his friend safe.
Eren doing it for this reason is epitomized by him not paying attention to Zeke because he is too busy staring at the moment he wrapped his scarf around Mikasa’s neck, showing he still cares for her.
However, the best character of the chapter is not Eren or Zeke; but Grisha.
I love what Isayama has done with his character.
Grisha is dead and yet Isayama still finds ways to constantly expand on his character through his memories.
Seeing that Eren had to be the one to push him to murder the Reiss family; because he initially could not bring himself to do it, is very hard hitting.
What is the most emotional scene by far, though, is when Grisha finally sees Zeke and tearfully apologizes for the way he treated him.
He then hugs Zeke and tells him he loves him.
This moment had me in tears.
It is such an emotionally impactful scene that has been building up for a while now.
And the fact that I still sympathize enough with Grisha and Zeke to cry at their reconciliation, despite all the terrible things they have done, shows how brilliant they are as characters.
The scene even leads to Grisha begging Zeke to stop Eren from initiating his plan.
However, this is where my one potential issue with the chapter lies.
This issue is a plot hole because if Grisha wanted to stop Eren then why did he go on to give him the Founding and Attack Titan?
Granted, this is only a potential issue at the moment because it could be explained later.
After all, Eren does tell Zeke that he did not get to see the memory where he ate Grisha; so there could be something to do with this memory that explains Grisha’s actions.
Whatever the case, Zeke takes his father’s advice of stopping Eren and orders Ymir to sterilize all Eldians.
The chapter ends with Eren breaking free of his chains and running to stop her.
What this will result in is anyone’s guess but I personally think it could lead to us seeing Ymir’s memories if Eren comes into contact with her.
Given how I was completely wrong about everything else that would happen in this chapter, though, I would not be surprised if Isayama blew my mind in a completely different way.
One final thing to note before I get into my overall thoughts is that I have no idea how this series can make me laugh when so many dark things happen in it.
The moment when Zeke sees Freida talking about how they should perish, and then he talks about how he thinks they would “get along well” had me bursting with laughter… before that humor turned to horror, as expected.
Overall, Chapter 121, “Future Memories”, is another brilliant Attack on Titan manga chapter.
It provides a great twist that redefines the meaning of many prior scenes, expands on the characters of Eren, Zeke and Grisha brilliantly, and made me cry with one of the manga’s most emotional scenes.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Review. MMMMMMM!!!

4 and a half stars
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal pretty much traumatized me as a child.
I remember seeing a Skeksis crumble to dust in the opening minutes of the film and being absolutely terrified.
Now, years later, the Jim Henson Company and Netflix have released a prequel series to the original creepy, puppet, fantasy movie, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Directed by Louis Leterrier, I came into this series with a vague sense of the original movie, since I think I was 12 the last time I watched it.
Well, Age of Resistance made me want to go back and watch that film because the Netflix series is fantastic, delivering a riveting story with great characters, music and puppetry.

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The puppetry in Age of Resistance is often top notch, with very few moments of an uncanny valley.

The Dark Crystal movie came out in 1982 so a lot of time has passed and this has given the creators the chance to improve on the puppetry and CGI.
The way the practical effects merge with computer generated effects is perfect, giving Age of Resistance a grand sense of scope.
The story follows three Gelflings; castle guard Rian (Taron Edgerton), the cave dwelling Deet (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Princess Brea (Anya Taylor Joy), learning that their lords, the Skeksis, are not so benevolent as they thought.
Realizing the threat the Skeksis pose to the world of Thra, the three Gelflings set out on their own individual journeys to stop the Skeksis and the Darkening they have caused by abusing the Dark Crystal.

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Rian, Deet and Brea’s journey to stop the Skesis results in numerous moments of high tension, fear, and sometimes laughter.

I came to care about all three of these Gelfling, who are all magnificently voice acted, with my favourite probably being Deet.
I liked her arc from beginning to end and also really enjoyed her friendship with the Podling Hup (Victor Yerrid).
Another thing I surprisingly enjoyed was the Skeksis themselves, who are over the top evil in the best of ways.
The Emperor (Jason Isaacs) is a commanding overlord, and The Scientist (Mark Hamill) uses his genius in cruelly malevolent ways.
By far the most investing Skeksis is Simon Pegg’s backstabbing Chamberlain.
With his constant “MMMMMMMs!”, he is as delightfully two-faced as I remember him being in the original movie.

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Describing The Chamberlain as a weasel is probably the most accurate way to describe his backstabbing nature.

As for the music, it further highlights the majesty of the world of Thra, and the danger whenever the characters’ lives are at risk.
Speaking of, there are a lot of deaths.
I have heard some describe this series as Game of Thrones with puppets and that is fairly accurate; although this should have been expected, given where the original movie starts off.
However, there are a few things that stop Age of Resistance from being perfect.
One is the fact that it is sometimes hard to take certain dramatic scenes seriously because, well, the characters are puppets.
Granted, these moments are few and bar between but they still happen.
By far the biggest problem, though, is that many of the characters seem to have changes in motivation at the drop of a hat.
Seladon (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is a prime example of this; but easily the biggest instance of this is in episode four where at least four characters’ motivations seem to change almost instantaneously with no buildup.
Still, these issues do not ruin the experience as The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a well made show with a great story and characters, and brilliant effects, both practical and computer generated.
I highly recommend it, especially for fans of The Dark Crystal movie.

 

Top 10 Attack on Titan Intros and Outros.

With Attack on Titan having finished its third season there have been ten intros and outros, and I have found many of these to be highly enjoyable to watch and listen to.
So, I have decided to count them down from the weakest to the best.
In order to rank them, I took things like song, visuals, and symbolism into account.
Now, let’s start the countdown.

10. Shoukei to Shikabane no Michi by Linked Horizon – Season Three Second Intro.

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It is a shame that I consider “Shoukei to Shiabane no Michi” to be the weakest Attack on Titan intro because it comes during the best arc of the series.
The big reason I think this can be narrowed down to one word: Spoilers.
This outro is jam packed with them, spoiling many events that happen in the arc.
Erwin’s suicide charge, the thunder spear attack, Armin being horrifically burned before becoming the Colossal Titan.
If you look carefully enough you can be spoiled about all these things in the intro.
It feels like they could not bother to make a symbolic intro like the previous ones so just opted for a spoiler one to draw people in.
Not only this, but the intro also reuses some images from previous ones like “Guren no Yumiya” and has some pretty bad CGI with the Colossal Titan.
It also does not match with the arc once the fighting stops and the basement reveal begins.
So, that means there are three episodes where the intro plays and it does not mix with the story.
I will give “Shoukei to Shiabane no Michi” props though because the song itself is great, as expected of Linked Horizon, and its usage of slow motion is well done.
Also, while I did not like the majority of images in the opening, the final shots of the places from Armin’s book and the basement are magnificent and highlight what the characters are fighting for very clearly.
However, the intro’s positives are definitely outweighed by its negatives, making “Shoukei to Shiabane no Michi” the weakest of all the intros and outros.

9. Yuugure no Tori by Shinsei Kamattechan – Season Two Outro.

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Like  “Shoukei to Shiabane no Michi”, the reason I believe “Yuugure no Tori” is the weakest outro of Attack on Titan is because of spoilers.
The visuals of this outro actually shows the origins of the Titans a season before it was revealed.
Thankfully, I did not know what these visuals meant when I first saw them so the twist still worked for me.
But “Yuugure no Tori” still gives so many hints that some people may be able to guess what is being foreshadowing.
More than this, there are some visuals in this outro that we have not seen in the story yet so there is still more for it to spoil.
Aside from this, though, “Yuugure no Tori” is a great outro, bringing the creep levels to new heights.
The images are incredibly disturbing with their unique art style and gory imagery.
Then there is the song itself, which is purposefully distorted to bring across a feeling of unease.
The lyrics speak of choosing a clan, which may be another spoiler but we will have to wait and see.
In any case, “Yuugure no Tori” may deliver too much information but it is still good at making the audience feel unease and dread.

8. Name of Love by Cinema Staff – Season Three Second Outro.

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When I first heard “Name of Love” I was not a big fan of it.
I did not hate it but I still felt that the outro showed a lack of effort through its imagery, just like its intro counterpart “Shoukei to Shiabane no Michi.”
However, after watching it again, I have actually come to appreciate it more.
Sure, the images are a little too simple, but they still succeed in their aim of conveying to the audience how much the characters have changed from their training days in season one.
When you compare the characters from the end of the Return to Shiganshina arc to how they appear in the outro, it is clear they are massively different from when we first met them.
Eren has gone from wanting to kill all Titans to understanding their suffering, Armin has become confident in himself and his plans, and Mikasa has learned she does not need to keep watching over Eren.
Then there are characters like Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie who used to be friends with them but are now deadly enemies.
The outro does a fantastic job at establishing these differences.
Not only this but the song “Name of Love” is also amazing.
I have found myself listening to it more and more as time goes on.
It is just a shame that the images of the outro are too simple.
They get the message across but are not anything special.

7. Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai by Yoko Hikasa – Season One First Outro.

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Honestly, I never paid much attention to Attack on Titan‘s first outro, “Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai”, when I first started watching the anime.
After rewatching it for this list, though, I wished I had because it is certainly a great one.
The big thing that immediately catches your attention about the outro is its art style.
The almost painting-like shots, with the fade in movement, presents Mikasa’s journey from child to teenager in the cruel world she lives in brilliantly.
“Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai” begins in space, oddly enough, before it pans down to Mikasa on earth running toward, or most likely away, from something.
However, even if she is running, she cannot escape the cruelty of the world as illustrated by her running into a field of knives.
The look on her face when she realizes what she has run into and stops is palpable, with her finally deciding to face the cruel world with her own knife in hand.
From here, Mikasa grows into her teenage years and a brilliant burst of color emerges,  different from the childlike innocence of the black and white, seen beforehand.
The outro ends with Mikasa seeing Eren, the one who made her realise she has to fight to survive, and walking towards him with the birds that have so often come to represent freedom in Attack on Titan flying overhead.
The first of the anime’s outros, “Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai” does a great job presenting the kind of symbolism that would be seen in future outros, which you will be seeing further down the list.

6. Shinzou wo Sasageyo by Linked Horizon – Season Two Intro.

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“Sasageyo! Sasageyo! Shinzou o Sasageyo!”
Try not to get these lyrics stuck in your head after hearing this song and you will find it is impossible.
The intro for Attack on Titan‘s second season, “Shinzou wo Sasageyo” is a song that sings of sacrifice with plenty of amazing visuals that get the viewer hyped for the season.
Probably the best moment of this comes with those central lyrics I mentioned, which translate to “Offer up! Offer up! Offer up your hearts!”, accompanied by the visuals of the scouts going up against the Colossal and Armoured Titans.
This moment does a fantastic job of hyping the viewer up for an episode every time they watch it.
The intro is also great when it comes to individual character moments, highlighting the importance that some of them like Ymir and Historia have in the season.
Before rewatching it, I honestly thought “Shinzou wo Sasageyo” would be higher on the list than six but, when I went back to watch it, I saw that there are some things that hold it back.
One of these things is that some of the visuals, although great, are very confusing, like the shot where the Beast Titan is seen running with dinosaurs and whales.
The first time I saw this, it made me concerned that Attack on Titan was actually going to jump the shark by featuring these things.
Thankfully, it just turned out to be some kind of symbolism but, along with this, I also felt like a lot of the symbolism was inferior to that see in the other intros and outros further down the list.
Still, “Shinzou wo Sasageyo” is a fantastic opening with music that is sure to get stuck in your head.

5. Red Swan by YOSHIKI feat. Hyde – Season Three First Intro.

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When I first started watching Attack on Titan season three, I was not a fan of its intro “Red Swan.”
Being the only intro song not done by Linked Horizon, I felt the song and the visuals of it were good but did not fit the series.
However, as the Uprising arc went on, I began to see how this is the perfect intro for the first half of season three.
A harmonious and reflective intro, but one that hides the darker side of the story, “Red Swan” is very symbolic.
There are so many amazing visuals, like a younger Eren running into his older self, and Erwin looking through a window at himself as a boy with his father, which shows how his past consumes him.
But my favourite visual of all has to be when the lyrics begin to ask questions about truth and belief (core themes of the arc) while we see a hand with a bloody cut over Armin.
This is almost certainly a representation of a Titan user cutting themselves to transform, symbolizing Armin becoming the Colossal Titan in the next arc.
“Red Swan” is just an amazing intro, with its reflective song, and great symbolism for characters like Erwin, Kenny and Armin.
It has really grown on me sine I first watched it.

4. Akatsuki no Requiem by Linked Horizon – Season Three First Outro.

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While it took me a while to warm up to “Red Swan”, I took an instant liking to season three’s first outro “Akatsuki no Requiem.”
Much like “Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai”, Akatsuki no Requiem has a unique art style to it that draws the viewers in.
Its representation of Historia’s backstory is both moving and symbolic, with representations of the abuse she suffered, and of those who tried to make her life better.
The abuse can be seen in the symbolism from when a rock is thrown at Historia, causing her to sink beneath the waves overlooking the fence that keeps her trapped on her farm.
This is accompanied by the telling line, “those who cast stone, and those who they strike. Between them lies fences difficult to overcome.”
As for the hope, this comes in the outro’s most moving shot where Historia sees a young Ymir transform into adulthood before reaching out to her with a smile.
However, this hope vanishes when Historia’s hand passes through Ymir’s as if she is a ghost, symbolizing her tragic fate.
As a fan of the two’s relationship I greatly appreciated this moment.
There is also plenty of foreshadowing to the Grisha reveal and Frieda Reiss, which is well done.
Above all else, though, the song for this outro is just amazing.
Not to mention the incredible teaser for the second half of season three that was inserted halfway through this outro the final time it was played.
“Akatsuki no Requiem” is one of Attack on Titan‘s best outros and perfectly reflects the backstory and character arc of Historia in the Uprising arc.

3. Guren no Yumiya by Linked Horizon – Season One First Intro.

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Admit it, you thought this was going to be number one.
In all seriousness, though, Attack on Titan‘s very first opening “Guren no Yumiya” is one of the most iconic anime intros out there, and for good reason.
Almost every anime fan would recognize “Guren no Yumiya” if they heard it, with its bombastic music and epic visuals.
It does an amazing job at hyping up the viewers for the war and slaughter to come in the series.
The dark symbolism of this intro is apparent right from its first few seconds where the very title of Attack on Titan is surrounded by chains, symbolizing how the people of the walls are essentially enslaved by their lack of knowledge about the outside world.
The lyrics work well with this symbolism, being equally dark as they speak about how praying will not save anyone.
There are also numerous stunning shots like the introductory one for Eren, Mikasa and Armin, and the long tracking shot of the cadets flying above Trost, until Eren strikes a Titan from above with the explosive line, “Jaeger!”
This intro just has so many fantastic moments.
As for why it is not higher, or even at number one where a lot of other people would place it, this is because I just like the intro and outro I placed as numbers one and two better with their fantastic use of symbolism, music and visuals.
Still, “Guren no Yumiya” is an iconic intro that gets you hyped for the series every time you watch it.

2. Jiyuu no Tsuba by Linked Horizon – Season One Second Intro.

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One of the most underrated intros in Attack on Titan, “Jiyuu no Tsuba” is one that deserves a lot more credit.
It had a difficult job following up the excellent “Guren no Yumiya” and, in my opinion, it more than succeeded.
The intro sounds more like a national anthem than any other one in Attack on Titan, and it has amazing visuals and symbolism to boot.
The big character introduction shot, for example, does a brilliant job of foreshadowing the reveals that Annie, Reiner and Bertholdt will betray the Scouts.
Then there is the shot of Armin standing in blood rain before he focuses on a single thing, represented by a candle, showing how his mind works.
Even Hange losing her eye two seasons later is foreshadowed.
Another thing I have to mention about this intro is the credits.
The way they are implemented into the visuals just draws your eyes to them to the point that they actually look like they are part of the environment.
It really is impressive.
All of this is accompanied by another great Linked Horizon song that gets you rooting for the scouts.
“Jiyuu no Tsuba” is the best opening of Attack on Titan and I honestly considered putting it at number one, but its outro actually managed to top it.

1. Great Escape by Cinema Staff – Season One Second Outro.

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Its funny how my favourite arc of Attack on Titan has the weakest intro and outro, in my opinion, while one of the weaker arcs, the Female Titan arc, has the best two of the series.
First there is “Jiyuu no Tsuba”, and now my favourite of all the Attack on Titan intros and outros “Great Escape” by Cinema Staff.
I really enjoyed this outro the first time I heard it, but came to love it immeasurably when I rewatched it after seeing season two.
This outro contains so much amazing symbolism in both its lyrics and visuals right from its opening lines.
After seeing a seed fall down a wall we then get a panning shot of all the cadets turned scout characters we will see.
The shot is accompanied by the lyrics, “Let’s say I’m not who I say I am, can you say then whether you are you?”
This line has so much symbolic meaning with many of the characters suiting it.
It could be referencing Reiner with his split personality that leaves him unsure of who he really is, or it could be referencing Historia who is hiding her true self because she is suicidal and wants to be remembered as a hero.
However, it is not just the lyrics that have massive symbolic value but the visuals as well.
When this line is said. and the shot pans, the characters are shown to be on two different sides of a wall.
Eren, Armin, Mikasa, Sasha, Jean and Connie are on one side while Reiner, Annie, Bertholdt, Ymir and Historia are on the other.
The significance of this?
Everyone on Eren’s side of the wall is being true to themselves while everyone on Reiner’ side is hiding something.
Once all of these secrets are revealed in season two it makes “Great Escape” an amazing rewatch.
With plenty of great action shots to go along with these symbolic lyrics and visuals, and also another interesting art style, it makes the outro worth viewing multiple times after each season to see if something new will be uncovered.
It is for all of these reasons that the second outro of season one of Attack on Titan  “Great Escape” is my favourite out of all the intros and outros in the entire series.

Attack on Titan Chapter 121 and Ending Predictions.

After reading Chapter 120 of Attack on Titan, “A Fleeting Moment”, it became clearer than ever that the manga is nearing its conclusion.
All the signs are there, with Eren and Zeke now in the path dimension and viewing their father’s memories after meeting the very first Titan Shifter, Ymir Fritz.
What remains to be seen is where exactly this goes and how it will contribute to the ending.
Personally, I think Attack on Titan will end around Chapter 130 so that leaves 10 chapters left.
This impending feeling that the series is in its endgame has caused me to not only come up with a few predictions for Chapter 121 but also come up with an idea of how the manga could end.
And, with that, I would like to go into my predictions for Chapter 121 and the ending itself.

What memories will Eren and Zeke see next and what effect will this have on Zeke?

Chapter 120 ended with Eren telling Zeke it was time to see “the next memory” so, given that this is the cliffhanger of the chapter, I have to believe that this memory is going to be something huge.
But what could it be?
Another one of Grisha’s memories?
Honestly, I am not so sure about that.
Yes, Zeke seeing Grisha’s thought process in giving the Founding and Attack Titans to Eren could contribute to his realization that his father had changed, but I think it would be more powerful for Zeke to see someone else’s memories.
This being Eren Kruger, the Attack Titan before Grisha, who Eren is named after.
We know from the flashes of memories that came when Zeke fulfilled the meme of catching Eren’s decapitated head at the beginning of “A Fleeting Moment” that both brothers now have access to Kruger’s memories.
But what could these memories add to Zeke’s development?
Well, I think this is where Zeke’s father figure, Tom Xaver, comes into play.
In previous prediction posts, I have stated my belief that Kruger and Xaver were working together, based on what Kruger says in Chapter 88.
Zeke learning that the man he thought of as a father was working with someone planning to restore Eldia could be the key to bringing him over to Eren’s side.
Another reason I think we will see Xaver in the memories is because of the mysterious boy seen in the flashes of memories
We know this memory is important because it is the second largest, next to Mikasa from the first chapter, and this has caused many to speculate about who the boy could be.
Some say a young Rod Reiss, or someone from the Warhammer Titan’s memories, but, given what I just said about Xaver and Kruger’s possible connection, I think it is most likely Xaver and that this is pointing to him and Kruger being childhood friends.
There is one thing that does not add up, though, and that is the mysterious hat the boy is wearing, which I can’t remember the name of.
We have never seen any character wear this kind of hat before so it may very well turn our to be someone we have never seen before instead of Xaver.
If it is, though, then I think Zeke will definitely be joining Eren’s side soon.
And, when this happens, the impact will be enormous.

What will happen if Zeke decides to work with Eren?

For starters, we saw in Chapter 120 that Zeke now has control of the Founding Titan power because he arrived in the path dimension without being affected by the first king’s ideology.
This power includes the one to control the Wall Titans, which could flatten the earth if ordered to.
My belief is that Eren currently plans to use these Titans to completely destroy the world so he can protect his friends.
This would explain why he has alienated them, because he does not want them involved in such a horrific plan.
So, if Zeke were to come over to Eren’s way of thinking, then Eren could convince him to initiate the Rumbling, unleashing it on the world.
I think this is probably what will happen in the next chapter or two, when Eren and Zeke stop looking at previous Titan user memories.
As for what will happen after the Rumbling starts, I believe we will get the final, epic battle of the series, with the Scouts and Warriors potentially working together to stop Eren and Zeke from obliterating the world.
Whether or not the brothers will succeed in their attempt at worldwide genocide I am unsure of.
Although, if this is what happens, I certainly hope they are stopped.
Another thing I am interested about is what role Yelena will play in this.
She has been shown to think of Zeke and Eren as gods but is also heavily in favor of the Euthanasia Plan.
So, if she sees Zeke abandoning the plan in favor of world destruction, she will almost certainly not be happy.
And, given that she has more than a few screws loose, this will definitely not be a good thing.
One thing I am anxious about, though, is if Eren and Zeke do activate the rumbling, where does this leave the characters who are not in Shiganshina yet?

Is there any chance of Levi, Hange, Historia and Annie showing up before a series epilogue?

I wish I could say that I can see any of these characters playing a big role in the final battle but, at this stage, I honestly can’t.
Levi is still horribly injured, and probably needs a few days to heal, by which time the fight will be over.
Hange is also with him so this leaves her unable to return as well.
Then there is Annie who is still stuck in that crystal, miles away from Shiganshina.
Finally there is Historia who is pregnant, which does not make her suitable for battle at all.
So, as much as I hate to say it, I doubt that any of these characters will return in a big way, until some kind of epilogue that explains their fates.
If this is the case, then it will be incredibly disappointing because I would like to see every important character play a role in the manga’s ending.
Also it would just be sad to see them left out of the finale, especially characters who have not been relevant in ages like Annie.
However, the series’ writer, Hajime Isayama, is known for surprising us so he may find a way to bring them into the story.
At this stage, though, I doubt it.
But, I will say that I think there is a high chance we could see these characters in flashbacks, primarily Historia.
The reason I think we will see her is because we got an image of her we have never seen before when Zeke caught Eren’s head.
In the image, she is wearing the clothes from when she was talking to the supposed father of her child, with a mysterious figure watching them, and is crying.
I think the mysterious figure was Eren and this is him talking to her about getting pregnant so she can survive.
This means Eren could be the father or it could mean that Historia decided that the father of her child would be her childhood bully (god forbid).
As for when the story behind her pregnancy will be revealed, it could be when Eren and Zeke are in the path dimension but I think this time is reserved for previous Titan user memories so I do not think we will see it for a while.
However, this said, even though I believe Historia will not play a big role in the final battle I think she is pivotal to the conclusion of the story.
The reason I think this is due to a theory about the ending of the story.

Ending Prediction. (WARNING!!! This contains a theory about Attack on Titan‘s ending that I think is highly likely so proceed at your own risk.)

After Chapter 120 came out, one theory began to float around about how Attack on Titan will end that has a lot of evidence behind it.
I heavily buy into this theory and like to call it the Ymir Rebirth Theory.
In “A Fleeting Moment”, Eren finally met Ymir Fritz but, rather than her being this all powerful being, she is actually a slave who has to create and rebuild Titans for all of eternity.
This is shown to impact Eren a lot, with him asking, “you’ve been here all this time, alone?”
Given this, and the fact that Eren values freedom above all else, it seems likely that he will try to free Ymir from her enslavement at some point.
Another part of this theory is that the Attack Titan itself was created to free Ymir.
In any case, If Eren succeeds in doing this then it will change the world of Attack on Titan. 
In order to justify this mindset I will ask you a question: who is the one who creates the Titans?
You guessed it, Ymir Fritz.
She creates them by building them over time in the path dimension, which takes a split second in the outside world.
But, if she is freed from the path dimension then who is there to make these Titans?
That’s right, No one.
Therefore, without Ymir in the Path dimension, Eldians will not be able to turn into Titans anymore.
This will end the threat the Titans pose to the world, that is if Eren has not already destroyed it by that point.
Although, with Ymir now free, the question is what will happen to her?
Will she just fade away?
I don’t think so.
Rather, I think what happens to her is the centerpiece of one of the final panels teased by Isayama a while ago.
In this panel, we see an unknown person holding a baby and telling them they are free.
Many people have speculated this is Eren holding Historia’s child, and if you consider that Ymir Fritz has been reborn as that child it all starts falling into place.
Why would Eren be telling this baby they are free?
Because he has freed them from the Path dimension.
What will Historia name her child?
Who better than to name them after than her dead girlfriend, Ymir, who saved her life, thus creating this cool time loop where the girl our Ymir is named after is also named after her.
Furthermore, many have speculated that the line “you are free” will be a continuation of the first chapter’s title, “to you in 2,000 years.”
So, in the final chapter of Attack on Titan, Eren will be holding a baby Ymir and, assuming he still has some connection to the paths, will talk to Ymir when she first gets her powers 2000 years in the past, telling her “to you in 2000 years you are free.”
At this stage, considering Eren still has these powers, I also believe he may be dying of Ymir’s curse.
So, in conclusion, here is a summary of my overall theory of how Attack on Titan will end:

Through exploring his father and other Titan Shifters’ memories with Eren, Zeke will come over to his brother’s way of thinking and agree to abandon his Euthanasia Plan in favor of saving the Eldians.
The two will then use the Founding Titan to initiate the Rumbling, sending the Wall Titans to destroy the rest of the world.
Seeing this, the Scouts and Warriors will decide to work together to stop Eren and Zeke, and save the world from this cataclysmic threat.
A lot of characters will die in this big final battle.
Whether Eren succeeds or fails in destroying the world, he will figure out a way to free Ymir Fritz from the Path dimension.
With her now free, Eldians can no longer turn into Titans.
Given this, and the fact that they worked together to try and stop the Rumbling, the Marley government, lead by Magath if he is still alive, will give full rights to all Eldians, ending the cycle of hatred.
A few months later, Historia gives birth to her child and names her Ymir, after her dead girlfriend, potentially unaware that her child is the reincarnation of the first Titan Shifter.
Many years later, Eren is dying of Ymir’s Curse and is holding the girl in his arms.
As he does so, he uses the remnants of the Paths to connect with Ymir when she first got her powers and tells her, “to you in 2000 years, you are free.”
And, with that line, Attack on Titan will come to an end.

So that is my big prediction for Attack on Titan‘s ending.
Knowing how unpredictable Isayama is, though, the next chapter will probably crush this theory entirely.
Either way, I am excited to read Chapter 121, and to see how this amazing manga will conclude in the next year or two.

Weathering With You Review: A Beautiful Anime, Even if it is a Bit too Similar to Your Name.

4 and a half stars
After seeing Makoto Shinkai’s fantastic Your Name, I immediately bought a ticket to his next film Weathering With You, which I had the pleasure of watching last night.
And, yes, I said pleasure because Weathering With You is another great film from Shinkai.
While I did not feel as emotionally involved as I did when watching Your Name, I still cannot deny that Weathering With You is a mesmerizing film with amazing animation, relatable characters, and an intriguing story.

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Mokoto Shinkai has done it again, delivering another great anime film with Weathering With You. 

The story follows Hodaka Morishima (Kotara Daigo), a high school student who runs away to live in Tokyo, which is experiencing an unusually long sequence of rainfall and storms.
It is there that he meets Hina Amano (Nana Mori), a girl with the power to make the sun come out through prayer.
What follows is a moving romance between the pair as they work together to bring sunshine to the people of Tokyo.
The first thing I have to praise about Weathering With You is, of course, its incredible animation.
Shinkai is an absolute artist when it comes to animating his films and Weathering With You is no exception, having numerous jaw dropping shots of animation.
The way the rain and sun look in this anime is just gorgeous, which serves to bring the audience into the story a lot more.

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The animation of Weathering With You is fantastic and needs to be seen in theaters.

As for the story itself, the romance of Hodaka and Hina being wrapped up in this supernatural plot provides numerous interesting and moral questions about climate change that I found to be quite compelling.
The movie is also pretty funny as well, with probably my favourite gag being the cat Rain’s constant judgmental looks.
The side characters of the film are also likeable and you understand where a lot of them are coming from.
For example, a man that Hodaka meets upon arriving in Tokyo, named Keisuke Suga (Shun Oguri), had an interesting motivation by the film’s third act that, while never outright stated, was heavily implied, making his involvement more interesting.

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The implied nature of Suga’s arc in the third act made his role in the story work perfectly.

The music is also great with the song “Grand Escape”, which played in the trailer, being particularly special.
There are even appear a few Your Name cameos for fans of that film as well.
Speaking of Your Name, though, this is where I have a problem with Weathering With You because it follows a lot of the same story beats as Shinkai’s previous film.
I remember sitting in the theater and thinking, this is just like Your Name!
This did not ruin the experience but it was pretty noticeable by the film’s third act and ending.
Still, I found Weathering With You to be another great Shinkai film, and is one I would highly suggest watching in theaters so you can see the gorgeous animation on the big screen.
It is my favourite animated film of the year so far.

Mindhunter Season Two Review: The Terror Continues.

4 stars
I loved the first season of Mindhunter.
Created by Joe Penhall, and with many episodes directed by David Fincher, The Netflix series hooked me right off with its disturbingly realistic portrayal of actual serial killers.
I was eagerly anticipating the second season, and we finally got it now, two years later.
The second season picks up with Holden Ford (Jonathon Groff) recovering from his encounter with Ed Kemper (Cameron Britton) at the end of the first season.
After getting released from a mental hospital by Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), Holden meets back up with the team, consisting of Tench, Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) and Gregg Smith (Joe Tuttle), in their studies of serial killers.
What follows is a season that sees the characters interviewing a wide ranger of terrifying murderers, like David Berkowitz (Oliver Cooper), and those who manipulate others to kill, like Charles Manson (Damon Herriman).

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Many of the killers interviewed look just like they do in real life, with Manson and Berkowitz looking particularly true to life.

Most terrifying of all are the investigations into the BTK killer, Dennis Rader (Sonny Valicenti), and the Atlanta child murders, which eventually becomes the main focus of the season.
Just like the first season, what makes Mindhunter season two so scary is its horrifying realism.
Again, no murders are shown but the aftermath of these crimes, and the way they are explained by both the killers and surviving victims is horrifying.
This leads to one particularly disturbing scene when Tench is interviewing Kevin Bright (Andrew Yackel) a survivor of the BTK killer.
The way this scene is shot is so particular, the acting from Yackel so tragic, and the sound design so unnerving, that is makes the scene horrifying to watch, even though no violence is taking place.

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The interview scene with BTK survivor David Bright is probably one of the most chilling scenes in Mindhunter season two.

It is particularly disheartening to hear Tench make assumptions about BTK, only for us to know he is completely wrong, meaning they are further away from stopping him.
Speaking of Tench, he has the best story this season, with a tragic family event that makes his interactions with the killers even more personal.
A scene where a confrontation takes place between Tench and Manson is particularly illuminating to Tench’s character.
It is not all great, though, because compared to last season Mindhunter season two does fall short.
There are quite a few plot lines that are dropped like Ford’s panic attacks, which are quickly forgotten about, and the cat Carr was feeding last season, which is oddly left out of entirely.

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The first episode acts like Holden’s panic attacks are going to be a major plot line only for them to be dropped pretty quickly.

As for Carr, herself, she does not have much of a role in the back-half of the season, and a romance storyline she has feels a bit too similar to Ford’s relationship from the previous season as well.
However, these problems do not diminish how great Mindhunter is.
It is still a creepy show, with great fictional characters and terrifying real killers.
I am already looking forward to season three.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Review: A Bloody, Slice of Life, Love Letter.

5 stars
Coming into Quentin Tarintino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I had no idea what the runtime was.
After watching the film, and enjoying it immeasurably, I checked my watch to see how much time had past and was shocked to see that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood had gone for two hours and forty minutes.
When you watch a long film but it feels like its over in minutes, that is when you know you have just seen a great movie.
It happened when I watched Avengers: Endgame earlier this year and it happened again with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as struggling actor Rick Dalton and his stuntman Cliff Booth respectively, as Dalton dwells on his failing career in the 60s with Booth for support.

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The friendship of Dalton and Booth is natural and often hilarious, with DiCaprio and Pitt doing amazing jobs.

Parallel to their story, we get Sharon Tate’s (Margot Robbie) as well in the build up to the infamous murders committed by the followers of Charles Manson (Damon Herriman).
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has been described as a “love letter to ’60’s L.A” by the Hollywood Reporter, and this is certainly the case.
You can tell just from watching the film that Tarintino is someone who loves movies.
My favourite scenes of the film are the ones where aspects of cinema come into play.
The scenes where we are presented with Dalton acting as a villain on a show with a young costar Trudi (Julia Butters), and one where Tate goes to watch one of her own movies, The Wrecking Crew, are particular highlights.

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The interactions between Dalton and Trudi are probably my favourite part of the film with the TV show homages and insights into Dalton’s character. 

The film also has a lot of tension as well, due to the creepy nature of the Manson family, resulting in an almost nail biting scene about half way through.
It is the friendship between Dalton and Booth that is the true heart of the film, though.
Both DiCaprio and Pitt give incredible performances as these characters, allowing us to relate to them despite their less than admirable qualities.
And they are a part of a very large ensemble cast that includes Kurt Russel, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, and Al Pacino.
With such a large cast and runtime it will make some wonder where the film is going… until the ending.
Honestly, I did not expect this kind of ending but, given that this is Tarintino we are talking about, I definitely should have.
All I can say about it is that it was a blast to watch.
I was laughing so hard at what was happening and, after a few minutes, I really began to question my mental state in doing so.
One thing I especially loved about the ending is its final seconds.
The final moments of the film really highlight the message that Tarantino is trying to sell, not just about Hollywood and the fate of Dalton and Booth but also the, sadly, very real life Tate murders as well.
It feels like a reflective ending that made me feel incredibly sad.
Overall, I absolutely loved Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
It has fantastic acting and amazing direction with all its movie homages, and a story that builds towards a darkly humorous, yet reflective, ending.
If you love movies then you should definitely see this in theaters.