Howl’s Moving Castle Review: Strong Beginning, Confusing Ending.

4 stars
Hayao Miyazaki obviously has a strong liking for steampunk films, as shown by Castle in The Sky, and fantasy stories, as can be seen with his films My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.
Well, with his 2004 anime Howl’s Moving Castle, he merges these two genres to create an interesting tale about a young woman named Sophie (Chieko Baisho) who, while living in a steampunk world, is cursed to look like an old woman by the Witch of the Waste (Akihiro Miwa) after encountering the mysterious wizard, Howl (Takuya Kimura).
Searching for a cure, she is reunited with Howl, his apprentice Markl (Ryunosuke Kamiki), a demon named Calcifer (Tatsuya Gashuin), and a living scarecrow, and goes on numerous adventures with them in Howl’s titular moving castle.

sophie and howl
On her journey, Sophie encounters many weird and magical things, with Howl at the center.

The beginning of Howl’s Moving Castle is strong, with the characters and world being introduced well, and the inciting incident of Sophie being turned into an old woman set up as being essential to the plot.
Not only this but the combination of fantasy and steampunk in this world is fascinating because of how it shows the magical and the technological interacting.
The animation that shows off these various technologies and magic spells is incredibly well done, as I was in awe at the first shot of Howl’s Castle.
Along with this, the characters are also likeable, although I will say that the romance between Sophie and Howl does not exactly feel right.
The setup for it is there with their first meeting but their following interactions never really gave me the feeling that they were falling in love.
Despite not really getting a romantic vibe though, I still did like Sophie and Howl’s interactions, along with a lot of the other character interactions, especially Sophie’s conversations with the silent, living scarecrow.

scarecrow
The friendship between Sophie and the scarecrow was something I enjoyed, which was surprising because the scarecrow doesn’t talk.

However, I will say that the way the scarecrows story ended felt extremely abrupt.
And this is really my big problem with Howl’s Moving Castle, the third act.
Many of the plot points in this act left me thoroughly confused.
For example, as I said, the inciting incident of the film is Sophie being turned into an old woman.
But, she seems to change between old and young across the film and this is strangely never addressed by the other characters or the plot.
By the end, I assumed it had something to do with love, or night, or a combination of the two but I don’t really know.
Not only this but the direction the story goes gets really confusing as well with, of all things, time travel being introduced and it is never explained how that happens.

time travel
I don’t know how time travel became a plot point in this story but it was very abrupt.

Howl’s Moving Castle also has a villain problem, what with the main threat being setup as the Witch of the Waste, before this is undermined and a seemingly new villain takes the stage, only for this new villain to be absent for the rest of the film.
From the midpoint to the end, the film slowly devolves to the point that I was dissatisfied with the ending.
This is not to say I disliked Howl’s Moving Castle, on the contrary I still think it is a very well done film what with the way it begins, the brilliant way it mixes steampunk with fantasy, and the animation.
But, the plot slowly begins to unravel as the film goes on, until it gets genuinely confusing to the point that I thought the story could have been handled better.
I would still recommend Howl’s Moving Castle though because of its numerous good qualities.

Tokyo Ghoul Season One Review: A Rush to a Killer Finale.

4 stars
Before watching Tokyo Ghoul, many people suggested I should read the manga first because the anime was a bad adaptation.
In reading Sui ishida’s manga, I found a fantastic story and a solid yet flawed experience in its sequel Re. 
Well, after watching the first season of the anime adaptation, produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Shuhei Morita, I can see what people were talking about.
This is not to say that season one is a bad adaptation but it falls quite far from the successes of the manga.
The reason for this mostly comes down to how rushed the story is and the switching around of arcs.
Take the first episode, for example.
I was pretty surprised by how much was adapted in so little time.
Honestly, I expected the first episode to encompass the first chapter, with it ending when Kaneki wakes up, revealing his ghoul eye and noting that his life is a tragedy.
But the episode went ahead of this moment and adapted much more for the first episode, resulting in scenes going by much too fast to be as impactful as they were in the manga.

tragedy 1
I feel like the first chapter should have been extended to make a single episode that builds to the final reveal of Kaneki being turned into a ghoul.

This rushed quality persisted right up until the end, and was not helped by the removal of entire scenes.
Season one should have been around twenty episodes instead of twelve.
The second big issue is the switching around of arcs with the Gourmet Arc happening before the Doves Arc, which came first in the manga.
The Doves Arc being moved behind the Gourmet Arc made certain things not make a lot of sense in the anime.
However, despite these problems, I still found the first season of Tokyo Ghoul to be a good adaptation.
Even though much of the story is rushed and some story arcs happen sooner than they are supposed to, certain scenes are adapted fairly well and the characters are all wonderfully brought to screen.
Kaneki (Natsuki Hanae), Touka (Sora Amamiya), Rize (Kana Hanazawa), Amon (Katsuyuki Konishi), Tsukiyama (Mamoru Miyano) Jason (Rintaro Nishi), and many characters are all done justice with their portrayals and voice acting.
The best example of this is Juuzou because both his Japanese voice actor Rie Kugimiya and his English voice actor Maxey Whitehead all do an incredible job as the character.
I remember hearing Juuzou speak for the first time in both sub and dub and thinking both were perfect.

crazy little s we know and love
Juuzou is perfectly adapted into the anime, with both Japanese and English voice actors doing an amazing job.

Along with the great voice work, another quality of the anime that I enjoyed were some of its original scenes.
The anime hyped up Jason a lot sooner and that made the build up to his torture of Kaneki in the finale a lot better.
Speaking of that finale, I was considering this season an overall average adaptation, what with the rushed nature and switched around arcs of the anime but then, “Ghoul” happened.
“Ghoul” is a fantastic season finale that perfectly adapted Jason’s torture of Kaneki and their epic fight.
The only problem I had with the episode was its censoring of numerous violent scenes but it makes up for it in the symbolism, voice acting, and amazing final scene.
Watching Kaneki take on Jason to the spectacular theme of Unravel made the entire season feel worth it and was the best way to end it.

kaneki unravels
The Kaneki vs Jason fight is the highlight of the season.

As for Unravel, it is already one of my favourite anime openings of all time.
Everything from the music, visuals and symbolism is just incredible.
Unfortunately, the few incredible aspects of this anime, like Unravel and the final episode, would not be continued in the follow up season of √A, which has a lot more problems, but we’ll get to that later.
All in all, the first season of Tokyo Ghoul is a solid adaptation.
Sure, it has its problems, like the rushed story, switched arcs, and missing scenes, but the adaptation of certain scenes, voice acting, final episode, and Unravel make up for it.

Cats Review: Cat People Aren’t Sexy!

1 star
Today is my sister’s birthday and she decided that, to celebrate it during my country’s lockdown, we would all watch the Cats movie.
It’s safe to say that by the end of it we were all regretting her choice.
You want to know how bad the Cats movie is?
It’s so bad that all the terrible bad cat puns that could describe this eye cancer of a film have already been used and there are none left.
I can remember the first time I saw the trailer for the film and wondering what the people making this were smoking for them to think this cringe fest was going to be a hit.
Although, I suppose what with the stage production being one of the most successful musicals ever, there was no doubt in their mind that it would be.
Still, this unfortunate misreading of the situation could have been mitigated if the movie used practical effects and makeup for the cat people.
But nope, they had to go full CGI with it and make the cast of Francesca Hayward, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Laurie Davidson, Robbie Fairchild, Ian McKellen, Jason Derulo, and many more look like mutated cat monsters that want to eat our faces, great.
And, to top it all off, the original stage production has barely any plot, with the only story element being that all of the jellicle cats (whatever jellicle means) are meeting to decide who will get a new life.

nnoo plot
Cats is just one creepy, boring musical number after another with barely any plot.

Director Tom Hooper tried to add a plot with Macavity serving as the overarching villain but this was incredibly forced and lacked any investment.
So, the majority of Cats consists of these creepy, one note cats introducing themselves in musical numbers that definitely do not match in tone.
There’s comedic numbers (none of which are funny), dramatic numbers (none of which are dramatic), and even horror numbers (I’m pretty sure they aren’t meant to be interpreted that way though).
I will give the movie some credit though, because some of the songs, like “Macavity” and “Beautiful Ghosts”, are actually pretty well sung, with Jennifer Hudson doing a fantastic job with “Memory.”
You just have to close your eyes so you can actually enjoying these songs by not having to see the fur demons.

Jennifer Hudson cat
Hudson admittedly does an amazing job with her musical numbers but the visuals ruin what feels like was supposed to be a powerful performance.

Sadly, for every decent musical number there is a bad or horrifying one, like Rebel Wilson and James Corden’s songs.
However, it is not the creepy nature of the cats that I found to be the films worst attribute.
If anything, parts of the film can be watchable if you are expecting to be creeped out by these CGI abominations.
No, I found the worst part of the film to easily be how boring it is.
As I said, Cats is basically scene after repetitive scene of characters introducing themselves and then never being important again.
By the time the third cat had sung about themselves, I was already bored and just got less and less interested at each new cat’s introduction.
Occasionally the cats would do something that would make me cringe, which would temporarily get my interest back, but then it would just go back to more introduction musical numbers and I would lose interest again.

railway cat
The railway cat number was the moment I realised just how much I was zoning out because of how bored I was.

The best way that I can explain Cats is that it feels like it is walking on a tightrope.
If it falls to one side then it lands on creepy visuals that make you cringe, however, if it falls on the other side then it lands on boring scenes that have no investment.
Oh, and the film has absolutely no coordination so it is constantly falling to one side of the tightrope every minute, only for it to fall again when it tries to get back on.
Cats is easily one of the worst films of 2019.
It has almost no plot, the cat people are unnerving, and it’s boring.
Definitely not “the most joyous event of the holiday season” as the trailers advertised, although did any of us honestly expect it to be?

Tokyo Ghoul: Re Manga Review. Not a Tragedy After All.

4 stars
Coming into Tokyo Ghoul: Re, Sui Ishida’s sequel manga to the brilliant Tokyo Ghoul, you have to understand that is quite different from the original manga.
Not in terms of tone, no, the story is still as horrifying and brutal as ever (except for the ending but we’ll get to that).
Tokyo Ghoul: Re picks up two years after the first manga, with an amnesiac Ken Kaneki, now under the name Sasaki Haise, who is working at the CCG as a ghoul investigator, while leading his own squad.
Named the Quinx Squad, the group consists of characters that have gained ghoul powers through experimentation, like Kaneki, however, unlike Kaneki they are still mostly human.
These are the characters that take up most of the screen time in Re, while most of the original main cast are relegated to smaller roles in the beginning and this can take some time getting used to.
Not to say that this new cast is bad or anything as, with one exception, I came to like all of them.

saiko
There are plenty of new and interesting characters introduced in Re like Saiko and Urie. 

Although, I will say I was not fond of the main antagonist.
Also, it is a shame that many of the original great dynamics of characters, like the one Kaneki had with Amon, are absent for most of the manga.
In comparison, the dynamics of the new cast are good but nowhere near as good as the original.
Credit where it is due though, some characters have been greatly improved and expanded upon from the first manga.
The best examples of this are Takizawa, who became a very tragic character, and, of course, my favourite character Eto, who was given plenty of flashbacks and amazing moments.
A certain scene with her at a press conference was my favourite moment in the entirety of Re.
I just wish that she had been given more screen time because she certainly deserved it.

Eto
Eto is definitely my favourite character, appearing to be both insane and completely logical at the same time.

Another aspect of the original Tokyo Ghoul that is expanded upon is the horror and gore. Seriously, the violence of this manga makes the violence of the last one look like an adorable puppy.
I can recall many moments where I audibly yelped or gagged at how disgusting some of the visuals were, which I’m sure was Ishida’s intent.
Not only this, but when the old cast does finally return, we get the interactions and dynamics that had been missing in the first half.
This also comes with the growth of the newly introduced characters, with my feelings about them progressing over time.
For example, I originally extremely disliked Urie but, by the end of the story, he was one my favourite characters.
On the opposite side of the spectrum there was Tooru, who went from one of my favourites of the new cast to one of my personally most despised characters in the entire manga.
I know Tooru has the most traumatic past out of any character, and what happened to him is something that no one deserves, but that does not justify his evil actions.
Speaking of evil actions, this is one of my many problems with the ending to the manga, because horrific crimes committed by characters are seemingly forgotten about and these characters then get happy endings.

evil tooru
It’s hard to feel good about a character getting a happy ending when you remember all of the terrible things they’ve done to innocent people, which has barely been addressed.

The ending of Tokyo Ghoul: Re was rushed.
Things happen too quickly and in the epilogue there are even important characters who were completely forgotten about.
This can probably be chalked up to Ishida being burnt out after writing the manga weekly for so long, which is understandable.
However, I still have more problems with the ending.
For one, it was a bit annoying how so many dead characters came back to life at the end, or Ishida made you think they were dead before bringing them back.
There were quite a few times where I just wished he had kept the characters he brought back dead.
And then there is my big problem with the ending, it does not suit the tone of the story up until this point.
At the beginning of Tokyo Ghoul, Ishida set out that the story would be tragic, through actually telling us this with narration and by showing us this with the extreme violence.
So, with many characters essentially getting a fairy tale story book ending, it feels at odds with everything the story had set up.
Just to be clear, I don’t hate this ending.
It is definitely not the worst ending the story could have got.
I just wish it had played out slower and felt in tone with the rest of the manga.

ending
Although rushed and not in tone with the rest of the manga, the ending of the Tokyo Ghoul story is still decent, providing conclusions to most of the characters and their problems.

Overall, Tokyo Ghoul: Re is still a good follow up to Ishida’s original story.
Despite its many faults, the manga constantly delivers on good characterization, horrifying moments, and themes.
Now that I have reviewed the manga, it’s on to the anime and, boy, do I have things to say.

Tokyo Ghoul Manga Review. He Just Wanted a Date!

5 stars
What’s your idea of the worst kind of date?
Maybe your date talks on their phone to the entire time, talks constantly and never lets you get a word in, or maybe they even try to eat you.
If you picked the last one then you are Ken Kaneki.
The main character of Sui Ishida’s manga, Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki thinks he has found the perfect girl in Rize; only for her to turn out to be a man eating ghoul that hungers for his flesh.
However, after a freak accident saves Kaneki’s life mere seconds before Rize can end it, he suddenly finds himself on the operating table with her organs being planted inside him.
What seems to be a life saving surgery at first quickly proves to be a curse, as Kaneki quickly begins to transform into the very monster that tried to kill him, a ghoul.

tragedy
Kaneki’s life definitely takes a tragic turn after his encounter with Rize.

Rescued from his torment by a group of peaceful ghouls working at the coffee shop, Anteiku, Kaneki struggles in his placement between two different world and discovers that ghouls are not all that different from us humans.
But with Ghoul investigators, hostile ghouls, and even cannibalistic ones out on the hunt, Kaneki will have to endure many horrors to have a hope of protecting his friends.
And when I say horror, I mean exactly that.
Tokyo Ghoul is not a manga for the faint of heart, with its constant gruesome and gory imagery, amplified by the great art from Ishida.
Amplifying the horror is how great the characters are because we fear for their safety.
In other mangas characters just die but in Tokyo Ghoul they die gruesomely.

Rize
Imagine this eating your face and you have a basic idea of how violent the deaths are in this manga.

Watching these characters fight against their cruel and violent world is a highlight and I will remember them all for a while.
Kaneki, Touka, Amon, Juuzo, Nishki, Hinami, these are all characters that I will remember fondly.
My favourite character though is definitely Eto, but to say why would get into spoilers for both Tokyo Ghoul and the sequel manga Tokyo Ghoul: Re.
Not only are the characters great but their dynamic as well, with my favourite interactions of the cast definitely being between Kaneki and Amon.
Speaking of Kaneki, he goes through some fantastic character development, especially after encountering the psychopathic ghoul Jason, making him easily my second favourite character.
Watching him grow every arc is a horrific joy, and each arc just gets better and better.

brutal kaneki
Kaneki goes from an ordinary guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly, to a guy you wouldn’t want to piss off because you’d be afraid that he’d eat you.

This all builds up to the fantastic final arc of the manga, which sets up the beginning of the sequel nicely, even if I think the sequel is not as good as the first part of the story.
Tokyo Ghoul is a fantastic manga, with its 143 chapters delivering emotion, horror and thrills.
I have already read Tokyo Ghoul: Re and am in the middle of watching the anime, which I have… let’s just say mixed feelings about, so you can expect reviews on those soon.

Tales of Vesperia Review: A Good Way to Get Through Quarantine.

4 stars
I live in New Zealand, which is currently in lock down because of the Carona Virus pandemic.
In the days leading up to the lock down, I was bored and looking for a game that I could get lost in for hours.
So, I looked up some and came across Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition, a JRPG that had been praised for its story, characters and gameplay.
I bought the game not two days before the lock down was announced, so I ended up with a great way to pass the time indoors in the experience that is Tales of Vesperia.
Directed by Yoshito Higuchi, the game is set in Terca Lumires, a world infested with monsters.
The people use an energy source known as Blastia to generate shields to protect the cities from monsters, and also to help in their everyday lives.
When a Blastia from the Lower Quarter in Zaphias is stolen, former knight Yuri Lowell (Troy Baker) and his faithful dog Repede go on a journey to catch the thief.
From there, they encounter an assortment of wacky characters who join them on their quest, including an innocent noblewoman named Estelle (Eden Riegel), a young guild enthusiast, Karol (Julie Ann Taylor), a hot headed mage, Rita (Michelle Ruff), eye candy Krytian, Judith (Alison Lees Taylor), young pirate, Patty (Sandy Fox), and the mysterious Raven (Joe J. Thomas).
They also meet up with Yuri’s longtime friend and knight Flynn (Sam Riegel), who occasionally joins you on your journey and has a great dynamic with Yuri, especially when Yuri starts to go on a dark path that is both unexpected and great.
All of these characters are fantastic and, as you spend the game watching them interact, they begin to feel like a family.

skit
The various skits across the game helped to solidify the characters’ relationships and endear them to the viewer.

Watching Yuri and Karol’s bond grow throughout the game to the point that they felt like brothers was heartwarming, and Raven’s antics and Rita’s obvious crush on Estelle brought numerous laughs.
The only downside to the party is Patty who, although a great character, doesn’t really feel like she belongs in the story for the first half of the game.
It is pretty clear that she was added for the Definitive Edition.
Not only this but, sadly, much of the villains are incredibly one dimensional to the point that I was constantly bored whenever they were on screen.
They are all cliched mustache twirlers, with the exception of the main antagonist, Duke (Jamieson Price), who is thankfully just as compelling as the main cast.

Dukey boy
Duke was the one antagonist with a solid motivation and the only one I did not roll my eyes at when they appeared on screen.

Despite my problems with the villains though, I can clearly say that, thanks to the main cast, the characters are definitely the best part of the game.
The story is also solid because, while it is nothing special, it has a nice sense of pacing, starting out with the simple goal of catching a thief, before slowly growing into a world ending situation that our characters must deal with.
And then there’s the gameplay, which, I’ll admit, I was pretty terrible at.
You want to know how terrible?
Well, you know those two comic relief characters who constantly exclaim, “I say!” whenever they talk?
Yeah, those two bozos kicked my butt on multiple occasions.

joke characters
I say that these two two idiots made me groan with anguish every time I had to fight them alone as Yuri!

Given how poorly I played, you should take what I say about the gameplay with a grain of salt.
However, despite how bad I was, I still enjoyed the gameplay, leveling up the characters, and gifting them with new Artes
If anything, my poor play style added a level of challenge to the gameplay.
There are some things that the game doesn’t tell you about how to play though, so that can be frustrating.
But, all in all, the characters, story and gameplay are all a lot of fun.
Granted, the game is pretty dated, since it first came out in 2008, and there are some inconsistencies.
For example, the speech bubbles that are displayed sometimes do not match up with what the characters are saying or are in the wrong place, and some voice actors have been replaced for new scenes.
Some have said that these new actors are very distracting but, honestly, I couldn’t tell too much.
Yet, despite the dated nature of the game, I still found that, in quite a few instances, its animation is quite beautiful.
Overall, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition was a great way to pass the time in my isolation.
The story and gameplay are solid and the characters are fantastic, even if the game is a little dated in certain aspects

Penguin Highway Review: Well, This is a Weird One.

3 and a half stars
Imagine your walking in a suburban area to school, not a care in the world, except for having to go to school of course, when, suddenly, you think you see something in a field.
It’s black and white and looks like some kind of bird, but not one you have seen in the area.
So, you walk a little closer until you see, much to your surprise that it is a penguin.
Surely, it must be a toy, right?
But, no, it’s moving around and chirping happily along.
Before you can gather your wits, there is movement from the bush and out comes another penguin, then two, then three, then five, then ten, then twenty.
Your town has a penguin invasion and no one has the slightly idea what is going on.
This is the situation Aoyama (no, not the character from My Hero Academia) finds himself in, in the profoundly weird anime film Penguin Highway, directed by Hiroyasu Ishida, and based on the book by Tomihiko Morimi.

penguins
Penguin Highway creates a great mystery about the origins of these oddly displaced penguins.

Not only that, but Ayoama (Kana Kita) learns that the penguins also have a connection with the dentist lady (Yu Aoi) who he has a crush on.
Could things get any weirder?
Well, yes, they certainly can because it seems like Penguin Highway is constantly trying to up the weirdness every minute the film passes.
The benefit of this weirdness is that it does keep the viewer intrigued for the majority of the film, as they want to know exactly what is causing these penguins to show up, and how they are connected to the dentist lady.
Another thing that keeps the film going is the humor, which is top notch.
Aoyama may basically be a genius, but he seems to have not the slightest idea about the concept of puberty, leading to many hilarious discussions, both with the dentist lady and his friend Hamamoto (Megumi Han) who has a crush on him, not that Aoyama notices.
These humorous interactions between the characters make most of them interesting.

characters of penguin highway
The characters are interesting throughout, especially the dentist lady who the mystery centers around.

Even the bully character Suzuki (Miki Fuki) has an arc, although a fairly predictable one.
Sadly, despite the humor, the intrigue takes center stage, which is not exactly a good thing because the film leaves a lot of questions that it does not exactly answer effectively.
It gives some answers but if you’re looking for a completely satisfying explanation then you probably won’t get it.
Still, this does not kill the story because the humor and characters do keep it going, along with the animation, which is great throughout.
Overall, Penguin Highway is a fun film to watch.
It may not have a completely satisfying explanation for what is happening but it is worth watching for its general weirdness.

My Hero Academia Season Four Episode 25, His Start Review: Ending the Season With a Bang!

5 stars
Coming into My Hero Academia‘s season four finale, many manga readers, including myself, were hoping beyond belief that the adaptation of Endeavor’s fight with the Nomu, High End, would be done justice.
Well, those hopes were definitely fulfilled because “His Start” is not only a fantastic adaptation of the battle between the two but also one of the anime’s best episodes, right up there with “Infinite 100%”, “Lemillion”, “Shoto Todoroki: Origin”, and “One For All.”
The episode starts off with Endeavor’s two oldest children, Fuyumi and Natsuo, visiting their mother, Rei, in the hospital she now resides.
It is here that Natsuo brings up many of the terrible things Endeavor did in the past, showing that even though he is now trying to change, that does not fix all of the horrible things he did to his family.
This is an important thing to note because many have accused Horikoshi of trying to force the readers to forgive Endeavor but Natsuo mentioning Endeavor’s crimes proves that viewers are being given the opportunity to judge him for themselves.
In any case, Rei does counter Natsuo’s belief that Endeavor wants everyone to forget what he has done by pointing out the flowers that she believes he sent her while she was in hospital.
But did Endeavor really send Rei the flowers?
I have a theory that it may have been someone else but that may turn out to be a spoiler so I won’t say who I really think sent them.
However, even if it turns out that Endeavor did not send those flowers, His Start still makes it very clear that he is trying to face his family and what he has done, as Rei says.
This is put on clear display in the fight between Endeavor and High End, where clear parallels between the two are made.
High End has been designed to fight the strongest opponent and beat them no matter the cost, just like Endeavor wanted to best All Might as the number one hero and hurt his family to try and achieve this.
Endeavor himself points out this parallel by telling High End, right before he puts him down, “you are me… from the past… or another future. Burn up… and be put to rest.”
This can be viewed as Endeavor literally killing the abusive part of himself to move forward as a better person and hero, as the new symbol of peace.
Such an interpretation is further established by the amazing adaptation of Endeavor’s pose after defeating High End, with him rising up from the fire, first in the air, as the music swells.
The emotional weight of this scene can also be felt in the build up to this epic moment, especially with Endeavor getting his scar, which I’m sure resulted in many anime only fans thinking it was the end for him.
Helping these impactful moments is the fantastic animation and music, which is just as good as it was in “Infinite 100%”.
Props to Endeavor’s voice actor Tetsu Inada as well for his fantastic performance, with his shouting of Plus Ultra and Prominence Burn.
Hawks also shines both through his fighting skills and in his character development through the showcasing of his admiration for Endeavor, as he could see that the flame hero was the only one seriously trying to surpass All Might.
Although, if he ever does learn the truth about Endeavor this admiration will quickly sour.
But, for now, this is Endeavor’s moment and he has truly begun his path to atoning for all the wrongs he has done, a journey that will surely be expanded upon in Season Five.
Speaking of the next season, we get a great tease in a post credits scene where Deku has a dream, seeing the past users of One For All, including the first user, One For All’s brother, who calls Deku the ninth.
This is a scene that will have monumental importance, not just for the next arc, but for the entirety of My Hero Academia’s story, and it will be interesting to see how it is adapted in Season Five.
As for the season finale though, “His Start” was a fantastic way to conclude season four.
I was a little worried that it would end at a different point, creating a cliffhanger that ultimately wouldn’t amount  to much, but, thankfully, the episode ended at just the right moment.
This ending, Endeavor’s character development, and the brilliant music and animation of the High End fight make “His Start” one of My Hero Academia‘s best episodes, and a perfect way to conclude Season Four.

Attack on Titan Chapter 128, Traitor Review. Old Faces, Dead Faces.

4 stars
Chapter 127 of Attack on Titan reassured me that the story was heading in the right direction after the not so good Chapter 126.
So, naturally, I was back to being excited for Chapter 128, “Traitor”, which saw the alliance try, and sadly fail, to find a peaceful way to secure the plane and Kiyomi Azumabito from Floch and the Yeagerists.
Of course, failure was to be expected, but I was surprised by the price that was paid for this failure, which was the lives of two characters we had not seen since the very first arc, Samuel and Daz.
I was scared that we might be seeing Hange or Jean die this chapter but no (although their deaths could still happen), instead it was two characters who I highly doubt anyone cared for.
That is not to say that their deaths are a cheap attempt by Isayama to create emotion though, because they did make me feel sad.
However, this sadness was for Connie, who, in the cliffhanger of the chapter, had to murder his two old friends in order to secure the plane that they are planning to use to reach Eren.
Connie snapping left me feeling sorry that he had to resort to this and, sadly, I don’t doubt that he will not be the only one with the blood of old friends on his hands after this battle is over.
All of the 104th will have to get their hands dirty and this includes Armin who, in a shocking moment, is shot by Samuel when he tries to stop Daz from blowing up the plane.
Armin looks to be mortally wounded though, so probably the only way he can save himself is if he transforms into the Colossal Titan.
This means Armin will most likely initiate his nuclear attack next chapter to wipe out many of the Yeagerists, although I don’t know how this will be done without destroying the plane.
As for the rest “Traitor”, it was also pretty good, albeit short.
One of the other big highlights of the chapter was Kiyomi taking down Floch when he tried to kill the engineers who are needed if the plane is going to work.
I did not expect Kiyomi to be a secret badass and it was a welcome surprise that made me like her character a lot more.
Fighting skills is something that she has in common with Mikasa, who crashes into the room and takes out the two remaining Yeagerists in the room, in a thrilling action sequence.
This causes Floch to flee out the window, irking many of his haters because of his continued survival.
Floch is probably still not long for this world though, as this does look to be his last battle, since Eren will be the final foe immediately after the Yeagerists are defeated.
Speaking of Eren, it is revealed that he has actually already reached Marley and probably wiped out every northeast town and god knows how many people.
This was very surprising because I didn’t think Eren would have got this far already.
The startling realization that the Rumbling has already begun its worldwide genocide leads Magath to break Yelena’s arm in an effort to force her to tell them where he is.
This is curious though, as considering how tall Eren is in his Founding Titan form, he shouldn’t be that hard to spot.
Although, Magath wanting to know where Eren’s is is probably Isayama telling us that Eren is going to be somewhere important, but I don’t know where this could be.
In any case, once Magath is talked down from hurting Yelena further he realizes his mistakes and apologizes to the 104th, telling them he was wrong about what he said in Chapter 127, and that they cannot allow the generations of hatred to continue, asking them not to see their foolish actions.
Armin refuses this, however; saying that they cannot pretend to be doing the right thing without dirtying their hands, of course leading to the bloody ending of the chapter.
Other standout moments of “Traitor” include Annie and Reiner transforming into Titans, therefore debunking the theory that the Titan Shifters can’t transform anymore, Reiner finally understanding what Eren meant in Chapter 100, and the Bertholdt parallels in the final, gut wrenching scene.
Then there is Yelena telling Levi that violence can’t be taken away from people, proving that the manga will not end with a completely happy ending, like many have been fearing.
Overall, Chapter 128 was a solid chapter of Attack on Titan that, while short, did a good job presenting character development, action, and a gripping ending.
The fight with the Yeagerists is sure to have more tragic consequences in the next few chapters.

Kiki’s Delivery Service Review: How to Make a Delivery Service Interesting.

4 stars
Hayao Miyazaki keeps delivering gem after gem with each of his films that I watch.
I have watched Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and the masterpiece Princess Mononoke, since these films were released on Netflix.
Each of these films provide an epic fantasy or steampunk world for the viewer to get interested in.
The exception to this is Kiki’s Delivery Service, where the focus, as the title suggests, is on a delivery service.
That is not to say there is no fantasy in the film because there most certainly is, as the star of the film is Kiki (Minami Takayama), a witch who, as the coming of age tradition of witches dictates, travels to a new area to help the inhabitants.

kiki chaos
Kiki’s journey may be a traditional for witches but the situations she gets into are anything but.

Settling in the seaside city of Koriko, Kiki discovers the citizens are not quite used to witches so decides to start a delivery service to help the people and support herself.
Accompanied by her cat Jiji (Rei Sakuma), Kiki meets a wide assortment of interesting characters and goes on quite a few adventures in her new environment, taking the seemingly mundane job of a delivery service woman and transforming it into something magical.
Along with Kiki, the film has more interesting characters like the pregnant baker who takes her in (Keiko Toda), a kind grandmother whose grandchild simply does not deserve her (Haruko Kato), and a young boy who Kiki is in equal parts annoyed and intrigued by (Kappei Yamaguchi).

ursula's art
My favourite character that Kiki interacts with though, is definitely the eccentric, woodland artist Ursula (also voice by Takayama) who helps Kiki in her development as a witch. 

But it is Kiki who truly shines, as her relationships with these characters culminate in an entertaining finale, where her character development truly shines.
A slice of life anime film that delivers plenty of heart warming and funny moments, Kiki’s Delivery Service is another good film by Hayao Miyazaki.