BlacKkKlansmen: Funny yet disturbing.

4 stars
“Dis joint is based upon some fo’ real, fo real sh*t” a title card reads as BlacKkKlansman starts.
This title card immediately sets up what is to come for the audience, in the hilarious, yet also disturbing, film directed by Spike Lee.
BlanKkKsman, like the title card states, it based off the true story about how the first African American police officer of Colorado Springs, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan.
As implausible as this seems the police officer in question Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) achieved this by pretending to be a white man on the phone, while fellow undercover cop Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) pretended to be him in person.

washington and driver
Washington and Driver’s characters make a great team in their combined effort to infiltrate the KKK.

What follows is an oddly comedic take on the KKK, with the absurdity of their racist beliefs being put on full display.
This leads to numerous funny moments as Stallworth and Zimmerman laugh behind the Klan’s back as they talk to them on the phone.
However, this film does not stray away from the disturbing aspects of the KKK, with one story that was told making me feel sick.
The film even managed to make pillow talk between a Klansman and his wife disturbing. However, even though the film does have a mixed tone with its both comedic and disturbing moments it juggles these moments very well for the most part.
One thing I really appreciated about this film though was how subtle it could be.
For instance, there was one scene where Stallworth is relaying a racist story over the phone to the leader of the KKK David Duke (Topher Grace) and it is heavily implied that this is based off racism Stallworth himself experience.

Stallworth and Duke.
A subtle moment between Stallworth and Duke shows how racism affected Stallworth himsllf in his childhood.

This is also a very politically charged movie, not only reflecting on the horrid racism of the 1960s but also the racism seen today.
There are even a few jabs at the Trump administration here and there.
The cinematography is also very well done and the only big criticism I have of the film is that its romance subplot gets cut off before it is resolved, although now I think about it, that may have been the point.
Overall BlacKkKlansman is a very well made film with both clever comedy and subtle moments.
It will leave you laughing at the ridiculousness of racism while also creeping you out about it.

Attack on Titan: Season three, episode six, Sin – Spoiler free and spoiler review: Dark theory confirmed.

4 stars

Spoiler Free Review:

Coming into Sin, I was expecting a very dark fan theory that I shared with many to be revealed and it was to a glorious degree.
I will admit when I first watched this episode, I did feel a little disappointed about the way it was delivered since the scene involving said twist was not shown in full.
I did an earlier review with a negative spin on this but, after watching the episode again I found that it was an interesting way to reveal it and think I was too harsh on it.
Therefore, this is the redone version of that review.
Sin is indeed one of the best episodes of the season, just falling short of the second episode Pain.
This was not only due to the great twist but also two flashback sequences from Historia and Kenny that also look to be setting up more twists in the story to come.
All this builds to an intense cliffhanger that sets up a lot of action for next week’s episode.
However, there was one scene I was not a fan of and that was the one with Dhalis Zachary.
This scene was just so cringe worthy and I felt it would have been better being implied rather than explicitly shown.
On a better note though, I will say that after watching the season three opening more it has really grown on me.
I had mixed opinions about it when I first saw it because I felt like it did not match the show but, after seeing how it has fit in with the season so far, I now think it works very well.
Overall, Sin was a good episode with a very dark twist.
I may have had a couple of problems with the way it was revealed but it looks like that may be expanded on in future episodes from what I have read.

Spoiler Review:

My dark theory that Eren ate his father Grisha turned out to be correct this episode.
This will undoubtedly leave a huge impact on Eren and no doubt the audience as well, although initially I was a little let down by it.
After seeing the reveal, I wished it had been shown in full rather than through flashes of Eren’s memories.
I did let this influence my opinion on the episode but after another viewing I saw how wrong I was about it.
Another part of the twist came when it was revealed Grisha murdered Rod’s entire family, including Freida, who was also a Titan Shifter.
Initially I also found this scene to be slightly disappointing because Rod is narrating the entire event as we see it, which, I felt, removed some of the potential impact.
However, I have heard from people that this will be expanded upon later so I cannot quite judge it for that as of yet.
There is also the fact that this twist about Grisha raises numerous interesting questions.
How was Grisha a Titan Shifter, why did he murder Rod’s family and why did he have Eren eat him?
The scene I found to be cringe worthy was the one where Zachary was torturing the naked nobleman who was removed from power last episode, by making him eat his own excrement.
This scene was unnecessary because it could have just picked up with Erwin and Pyxis’ conversation about it and left what Zachary was doing implied.
Besides the twist, the other interesting scenes of the episode were the flashbacks of Historia and Kenny.
Historia’s showed that Freida not only knew Historia before her death, but also had the power to remove her memories of her, which is something the royal family has been using for years to keep their secrets.
This explains how the royal family was able to wipe people’s memories about the outside world but it does not explain why this was done.
Was it for power or something more?
Then there is Kenny’s flashback, which finally reveals his connection to Levi when Kenny mentions his sister Kuchel, who is pregnant.
Kuchel must be Levi’s mother and that would make Kenny his uncle, although I already knew this because I had been spoiled.
There is also the reveal that the Ackermann family have been long time supporters of the king but, during Mikasa’s father’s time, they were persecuted out of fear.
This is implied to be not just because of their skills but because they are unaffected by the royal family’s mind wiping techniques.
Levi later mentions that there are moments where all of the Ackermanns feel extreme strength growing inside them like nothing else.
Is this some kind of power the Ackermann family have and, if so, is it connected in any way to the Reiss family’s ability to wipe minds?
Whatever the case, it looks like we will be getting a similar episode to Pain next week, with the Levi Squad going up against Kenny and his troops to rescue Eren.

Predictions:

  1. Next week’s episode, Wish, looks very action packed. I wonder if someone important will die, since Eren is covered in blood. However, this blood is clearly not his own or he would be able to transform. Hopefully it is not Historia because this would ruin all their plans to make her Queen.
  2. Speaking of Historia, during that flashback of her with Freida, the book they are reading has a picture of a girl giving an apple to some kind of Titan. This is very similar to the shot from the season two outro, which I have heard shows the history of Attack on Titan. This may be our first hint as to the origin of the Titans and, if it is, then it is good to lay the groundwork for that now. One thing I am intrigued by though is that Freida said the woman holding the apple’s name was Christa, which was the alias given to her by Rod. How does this tie into everything?
  3. When Rod was narrating what happened to his family, I got the feeling that he was not telling the complete truth due to his complete lack of emotion. Maybe Rod is just a sociopath or maybe he was lying to Historia to get what he wants… which would also make him sort of a sociopath, but whatever.  If I am right about Rod lying then it might explain why Grisha murdering Rod’s family included the narration.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Review

4 and a half stars
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 
is one of those anime that I have heard tonnes of praise for.
I have seen many people name it their favourite anime so I had to check it out to see if it lived up to the hype that was being presented.
For those of you who do not know, Brotherhood is actually a remake of the earlier Fullmetal Alchemist anime.
Both are based off the manga written by Hiromi Arakawa (also known by her pen name Hiromu Arakawa), but the first Fullmetal Alchemist came out while the manga was still in its early stages so had to take various liberties with the story.
Brotherhood was made years later and aimed to adapt the source material more faithfully.
Based on this and the fact that, as I said, many people consider this there favourite anime, I decided to watch Brotherhood rather than the first adaptation.
Brotherhood is set in a world where alchemy, a form of magic that relies on the law of equivalent exchange, is an established fact.
The story follows the adventures of Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers trying to get their bodies back, which they lost (Al fully, Ed partially) after attempting the forbidden act of human transmutation.

Edward and Alphonse
Ed and Al trying to get their bodies back was one of the main driving forces of the series, and one of the reasons it worked so well was because of their great bond.

In regards to the quality of the show, I will say it is a bit of a slow burn… but when it gets going it grabs on tight and never lets you go until the very end.
I was quite surprised how engaged I became with this anime considering how I thought the first few episodes were nothing special.
This is not to say these episodes were bad but they were not really drawing me in to the point that I felt I had to watch the next episode.
The first episode especially left much to be desired.
It went by way too fast, introducing us to so many characters and attempted to start a political theme right from the get go, when I barely knew how its political system worked.
I do understand why this first episode felt rushed though, because the makers of this obviously knew that people who watched the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime would be watching and already knew this stuff, so they decided to go through it quickly.
Like I said, these initial episodes are not bad and they do have the occasional gem shining through.
The fourth episode, An Alchemist’s Anguish, has one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen in an anime and needs to be seen to be believed.
Then there is episode ten, Separate Destinations, which is a real tear-jerker.
After this, it is not long before Brotherhood quickly becomes a very engaging anime with great story telling, pacing and character development.
I was especially blown away with the character development, as my two favourite characters, Greed and Hohenheim, originally felt very one note but by the end of the series they were some of the most well developed characters of the series.

Greed.png
Greed was one of the most surprising characters with his brilliant character arc.

Then there are the plot twists, with one in between episodes 30 and 40 leaving me very surprised.
When I first started watching the anime I alternated between the sub and dub but the dub was so great that I changed to just watching that.
This sub was still great and well acted but I enjoyed the dub a whole lot more.
The animation and music are likewise great and the episodes also got better and better as the show went on, my favourite of the bunch probably being episode 40, Homunculus (The Dwarf in the Flask).
After all of this, it was not long before I was binge watching the entire anime.
After every episode I wanted to know what would happen next.
This all builds to an absolutely incredible final act of the series, with brilliant episode after brilliant episode, the final five of which had me glued to the screen.
These five episodes made me cry at least three or four times both out of sadness and happiness.

Fullmetal Alchemist ending
The final episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood were very engaging with plenty of emotional moments.

However, even though I loved the way the series ended, I do have to say, I was a little bit disappointed by it as well.
There were quite a few minor plot points about certain characters that were never fully resolved by the end and I really wanted to see what would happen with those.
It may have been because they had a limited time frame with the episode lengths and, if so, I wish they had extended the final episodes so we could see those plot points resolved.
Otherwise, I loved Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. 
It might be slow a slow burn at first but once the story really gets going you will be hooked.
I would recommend this to anyone who has not seen it, even if they typically do not watch anime.

Attack on Titan: Season three, episode five, Reply – Spoiler free and spoiler review: Viva la uprising!

4 stars

Spoiler Free Review:

This week’s Attack on Titan episode, Reply, had many interesting and great moments, in an episode that I feel is building up to a shocking revelation next week.
This episode primarily dealt with Erwin’s storyline in the wake of last week’s episode’s worrisome cliffhanger.
This storyline was very important for the episode but it did make me wonder how long the Uprising Arc has left.
From what I have heard, there are supposed to be 24 episodes this season and Reply makes it look like we are already in the endgame of this arc.
If it ends soon, then I wonder how long the next arc will be and if this really will be a 24 episode season.
Another thing, while I did enjoy this storyline with Erwin, it was a very predictable one.
As soon as a character arrived to announce some distressing news I knew what was going to happen.
That did not change that I still found this storyline to be engaging but it did lessen its impact somewhat.
The real meat of this episode lies in what happens after Erwin’s storyline.
So many hints are given and it looks like the dark theory I have concerning Eren’s Titan ability is correct.
Along with giving plenty of hints to numerous revelations, this scene also had a touching moment from Levi.
As a whole, this episode also had great animation and music.
There is a shot of Erwin’s eye that reminded me very much of a similar shot in season two, episode five, Historia, where I have praised its animation.
Well, this animation certainly tops that.
One thing that did surprise me as well was how funny this episode was.
There were a lot of times where I laughed and I honestly did not expect that coming in to this episode.
Overall, Reply was a really good episode that looks to be setting up some dramatic reveals.

Spoiler Review:

Thankfully my concern for Erwin’s safety was all for nothing because he came out on top this episode.
With help from Pyxis, Nile and Dhalis Zachary, he was able to successfully overthrow those in power.
However, this is where my problem with how predictable this storyline was lies.
Pyxis’ aid bursts into the room and declares that Wall Rose has been breached and I immediately realised this was a ploy from Pyxis and Erwin to get the nobles to break the Charter of Humanity, Clause Six, by having them put themselves before humanity.
Sure enough, this is exactly what the nobles did and it resulted in them being overthrown.
This was very easy to guess based on how the Charter of Humanity was being used to convict Erwin so it was natural that he would turn the tables on them using this.
Still this scene did have a lot of great moments as their “coup d’etat” succeeded.
Indeed, this seems like more of a coup than an uprising but maybe we will get that later.
After Erwin’s storyline, the perspective switched to that of the Levi Squad, where Hange informed them of what had happened.
This led to them highlighting all those who had worked towards overthrowing those in power and, after this, Levi apologized for getting Hange’s soldiers killed, which was a very nice moment.
However, all the niceties leave when Hange points out an incident in the Reiss family history, where all of Rod’s family were killed by someone the day before Historia’s mother was murdered.
Whatever is happening here, it obviously has a huge connection to the fall of Wall Maria and how Eren got his Titan abilities.
Then there is Eren himself, who finally wakes up after being captured… again.
Seriously, how many times has Eren been captured?
It is basically its own cliche at this point.
You might as well call Eren the damsel in distress of Attack on Titan… only he is the main character!
The episode ends with him waking up in a strange crystallized room with Historia walking towards him.
On another note, as I said in my spoiler free review, this episode was surprisingly hilarious.
The funniest moments came when Zachary declared why he helped remove the military police, going on a rant about how much he hated them,  and when the Levi Squad reacted to their names being cleared.
In this specific shot everyone is jumping for joy and Sasha wraps her arms around Mikasa who is not having it.
Mikasa’s reaction to Sasha’s hug, even if it was brief, was very funny.
Reply was another really good episode for the third season and has me eagerly anticipating next week’s episode, Sin. 

Predictions:

  1. One of the big shots we get in a preview is of Kenny, who looks significantly younger than he does now. Will his backstory be revealed and his Ackermann connection?
  2.  I think it is safe to say that Eren is the “power” and Historia is the “vessel” that was mentioned. This means that Rod is planning on having Historia eat Eren. How can she do this though? Does this mean they have the shots they gave Ymir when her backstory was revealed in Children? If this is the case, hopefully Historia will not go through with this.
  3. Eren dreams about a women in this episode, who I speculated was this Marie person that was mentioned last episode. However, based on this episode and the preview for Sin, she looks more like Freida, Rod’s daughter who was supposedly killed with the rest of her family. This would make her Historia’s half-sister and it appears she knew her, based on what we see in the preview. But why is Eren dreaming about her if he never meet her?
  4. Warning: Potentially major spoilers for the next few episodes here: After everything I have seen in this episode and the previous ones, I am certain that Eren ate his own father, Grisha. This makes sense because Grisha injected Eren and we know from Children that the injections turn people into Titans, not Titan Shifters. In order to become a Titan Shifter you need to eat one and unless Grisha just had a Shifter lying around it seems highly likely that he was the Shifter and Eren ate him and got his powers. However, there is a shot of Grisha in the preview for next episode and it looks like he is in the exact same strange room as Eren so I may be wrong. Although, this could also be a flashback. Then there is the “unforgivable sin” Grisha committed, mentioned in the preview. I am willing to bet that he had some hand in the deaths of Rod’s family. How ever Grisha connects to the story, next episode looks to be full of reveals about him.

 

The Meg: Jason Statham fights a prehistoric shark… for about ten minutes.

two stars

Jason Statham fighting a Megalodon sounded like a winning combination for a great popcorn film.
Unfortunately a great popcorn film The Meg is not with its overall boring and eye rolling story.
Directed by Jon Turteltaub, the film stars Jason Statham as rescue diver Jonas Taylor who is called in to help rescue his ex-wife Lori (Jessica McNamee) from the bottom of the ocean, where they encounter the ferocious Megalodon.
Speaking of the relationship between Lori’s and Jonas, you would think this would have some importance to the plot, right?
Wrong!
Because these two being exes has literally no impact whatsoever.
Lori could have just been a random side character and nothing would have changed.
She does not move the plot forward after she gets trapped, she does not serve as a love interest for Jonas, she has no point being in the movie.
Jonas’ actual love interest, Suyin Zhang (Li Bingbing), is no better either as her and Jonas’ relationship holds no investment.
Their relationship basically goes from them saying, “I hate you” to them saying “wow, you’re pretty hot” in less than a minute.
There is a moment in the film, about half way through, where Suyin says something along the lines of, “let me do what I’m good at.”
This line made me pause for a moment because I realised I had completely forgotten what she was good at in the first place, which had definitely been established earlier.
She was that forgettable.
And this is The Meg‘s big problem, the characters.
Rather than spending the majority of the film seeing the Meg destroy things, we instead spend that the time with the movie’s various characters.
This would not be a problem if these characters were remotely interesting but they are not.
The majority of them are just shark fodder for the Meg to devour and it got very easy to guess which of them was going to get chomped.
There was a death scene where I was literally counting down the seconds to the guy getting eaten.
It was so obvious that it was going to happen.
If there was one word I could use to describe The Meg it would be “cheesy”, and not the good kind that a movie like this should be.
There are multiple instances of cringe worthy dialogue, eye rolling scenes, and the one good character moment of the entire film is ruined when it was revealed to be just an act.
The one saving grace of The Meg is its final action sequence, which gave me exactly what I wanted: Jason Statham fighting a massive shark.
This final fight was entertaining enough to salvage the film slightly, however, it does not excuse the bore fest that came beforehand.
The Meg is an overall boring film that has forgettable characters and action.
The only reason to see it is for the final ten minutes.

Attack on Titan: Season three, episode four, Trust – Spoiler free and spoiler review: Rise of the side characters.

3 and a half stars

Spoiler Free Review:

The third season of Attack on Titan delivered quite a surprise with its fourth episode, Trust, as the side characters stuck out a lot more than the main ones.
Marlo, Hitch, Flegel and Nile are all side characters and yet had significant development this episode, all to great effect.
For example, when we first met Marlo and Hitch in season one, I did not really care for them but they were actually very likeable this episode.
Then there is Flegel, who had a very inspiring moment that made me cheer.
As for Nile, it looks like this episode set up a lot for him to do in the Uprising Arc.
I really loved what this episode did with its side characters because it gave them a lot more depth, which made them more interesting to me.
Trust truly is a character development episode because even Jean got some significant growth in a scene that was both funny and misleading, but in a good way.
There was even a moment with Hange where the great animation of season three was put on full display.
This is mainly a set-up episode for, what will probably be, the big second act of the Uprising Arc so it did not have as much exciting highlights as previous episodes.
However, that being said, Trust is still a really good and enjoyable episode that made me appreciate the side characters a lot more.

Spoiler Review:

It turns out that my prediction in my previous review was correct as the Military Police officers coming towards the Levi Squad were Marlo and Hitch, Annie’s friends from the Military Police.
Also as predicted, these two actually helped the group out, with Marlo proving himself to be very dependable in a confrontation with Jean.
Speaking of this confrontation, I actually thought that Jean was going to try and murder Marlo and Hitch because of his growth from episode two, Pain.
Thankfully, it was all just an elaborate ruse by Jean to see if they could be trusted.
This also led to a funny moment where Hitch called Jean “horse face”.
It would seem that Jean just cannot escape that nickname.
Once it was determined that they could be trusted, Marlo and Hitch led the squad to the area being guarded with the least Military Police officers.
There they captured one of the Interior Military Police, who gave the big name drop of Kenny Ackermann.
Mikasa heard this so I suspect the official reveal of her and Levi being related to come soon.
I already knew that the two were related because I had heard people refer to Levi as an Ackermann but it will still be interesting to see what implications this has for the anime.
However, the one thing I did not like about this scene was how Levi called Historia Christa.
It is getting kind of annoying because it has to be confusing for people.
She can either be called Historia or Christa, they should stick with one.
Then there is Hange’s storyline, which was one of my favourites of the episode.
This was because of Flegel’s great character development, which led to him standing up to the Military Police and siding with the Scout Regiment.
Hange’s storyline also had a great quote from her because when Flegel says the Scout Regiment will be defeated Hange replies, “defeat is all the Scout Regiment has ever known.”
There is also the fact that many people, including journalists, overheard the truth about the government so this will probably kick off a full on uprising, once word spreads.
However, I do have to say, the moment when that Military Police officer collapsed in tears of joy upon finding Flegel came across as very melodramatic to me, and not in a good way.
Finally, there is Erwin’s storyline and fingers crossed he does not die next episode.
There was a pretty big hint at this happening last episode, with Erwin naming Hange his successor.
There is some hope for him though because it looks like Nile, the commander of the Military Police, may actually switch sides and help him.
I am definitely starting to see more hints that the two used to be friends, as was stated in previous episodes.
The next few episodes do look to be pretty hectic, with hopefully a few reveals, so I am excited for that.

Predictions:

  1. I did not notice this in my first viewing, but in my second viewing of the previous episode, Old Story, Erwin mentioned an “incident” in the Reiss family. I wonder what that is setting up?
  2. Maybe Nile and Pyxis will save Erwin because it looks like both are taking an active role next episode, based on the preview.
  3. In the preview, there is a woman looking at herself in a mirror, while brushing her hair. This looks like a new character so I am interested to see who this is exactly. Maybe it is that Marie woman Erwin mentioned? From the sounds of things she is Nile’s wife so, if this is her, it will be interesting to see what role she plays.

 

Stephen King’s Misery, Court Theatre Performance Review.

4 and a half stars
Stephen King is my favourite author and Misery is one of his best novels, in my opinion.
So, when I heard that the Court Theatre, in my home city of Christchurch was putting on a performance of William Goldman’s stage adaptation, I was intrigued.
I went to see the performance with family last night and I was thoroughly entertained, both for expected and unexpected reasons.
Directed by Dan Bain, this production seems to be based more on the movie than the novel and stars Lara Macgregor, as Annie Wilkes, and Gavin Rutherford, as Paul Sheldon.
Paul is an author who crashes in a snow storm and Annie is his rescuer and self proclaimed “number one fan.”
However, Annie is the type of fan no one would want because, after learning that the injured Paul has killed her favourite character, the titular Misery, she forces him, under the threat of death or worse, to write a new novel, one that will resurrect Misery.
What follows is an intense show with great performances from Rutherford and Macgregor, who both feel like their film and novel counterparts have leaped off the screen.
Macgregor pulls off the deranged Annie flawlessly and, while it felt like Rutherford took a while to get Paul’s accent right during the performance, he still did just as good a job as her.
Then there is Adam Brookfield, who plays the cop Buster and, although having only a brief amount of time on stage, also gave a good performance.
What really surprised me about Misery though was the timing of it all.
There are numerous tense scenes where Paul has to keep out of sight of Annie and the timing of those scenes were expertly handled and must have taken a lot of effort to get right.
The performance was also surprisingly funny with a lot of the film’s creepy moments being played played for laughs in this production.
On a side note though, what I found to be hilarious was how demented the audience was because they laughed at some really sick things.
Overall though, Misery was a great performance and adapted both the novel and film really well.
It had good performances, funny and tense moments and fantastic timing.

Attack on Titan: Season three, episode three, Old Story – Spoiler free and spoiler review: Backstories galore.

3 and a half stars

Spoiler Free Review:

The third episode of Attack on Titan‘s third season aired, giving us the backstory of both Historia and Erwin.
Compared to the previous two episodes of the season, this episode, Old Story, had a much slower pace because it was more character driven that action and story driven.
This is not a bad thing as the anime has been able to give us some truly fantastic character driven episodes, like season two, episode ten, Children, which is one of my favourite episodes of the series.
In comparison with these other character driven episodes, Old Story is a pretty good one that adds a lot of depth to the characters of Erwin and Historia.
Also, while I do not think this episode is as good as the first two of the season, especially episode two, I still found it be very enjoyable.
Along with delivering more background to some characters, this episode also had some revelations and made, what I can only guess to be, more hints for future reveals.
Old Story also reveals, more than any episode so far, what exactly our central characters are facing in this arc as it goes in deep with their foes’ levels of depravity.
My favourite character of the episode would have to be Erwin because, not only did he have a lot of good moments, but the reveal of his backstory also explained a lot about his character.
It also set up, what I think is going to be, a very good character arc for him this season.
Overall, Old Story was a good, if slow, episode.
It may not have had much excitement or even that great of a cliffhanger but it added complexity to more of the characters and set up future reveals.

Spoiler Review:

It seems like every character in Attack on Titan has some kind of traumatic past.
Eren, Mikasa, Ymir, and now Erwin and Historia.
The reveal of both of these characters’ backstories was really well done and both gave a great sense of their characters.
Historia’s was especially tragic because it showed how cruel her mother was to her as she even went as far to want her dead but, thankfully, did not have the “courage” to do so.
It could just be that Historia’s mother was a terrible person, but it seemed to me that, for some reason, she actually feared her daughter so, if that is the case, it will be interesting to see why later.
Even if she did fear Historia though, I still see this as no excuse of her treatment of her.
Historia is freaking adorable in these flashbacks and anyone that would shove a kid, let alone their own, for trying to give them a hug is cruel.
Historia’s past got weirder as it went on as well.
The day after Wall Maria fell, Rod Reiss came to get her, only for Kenny and the Military Police to arrive and murder Historia’s mother right in front of her.
What makes this scene especially strange is that it raises numerous questions.
Why did they want to kill Historia and her mother, why did Historia’s mother refer to Rod as “master”, why did Rod suddenly decide to allow Historia to be spared so long as she lived under a fake name?
I am sure all of these questions will be explained and I am eager to hear those explanations.
As for Erwin’s backstory, this gave me an even bigger sense of who he is because it is revealed he blames himself for his father’s death.
His father was a teacher who told Erwin that he thought the government was lying about history.
Erwin told his friends and the Military Police found out and so it ended with Erwin’s father being murdered.
This inspired Erwin to prove his father’s theory correct and it looks like that will be his main goal in the Uprising Arc.
He also had a really great scene, where he vowed to avenge Dimo Reeves, whose murder he has been framed for.
One thing that does have me concerned though is that Erwin tells Hange she will be in charge of the Survey Corps if he dies.
Hopefully this is not foreshadowing his death any time soon but this is Attack on Titan so you never know.
Then there is the revelation that in order to become a Titan Shifter you need to eat one.
I already knew this because it had basically been confirmed with the episode Children and it just needed to be stated by the characters.
However, all this being said, I did find a bit of a plot hole in this episode and this is what they did with the captive Djel Sannes and his buddy Ralph.
They locked them up in a cell but left no one to guard them.
If the two of them just happened to break out then Rod would know everything Sannes told Hange.
The ending cliffhanger also was not that interesting but the only reason I have a problem with that is probably because of how good the previous two were.
Old Story left me with a lot of questions, especially surrounding Historia, that I hope will be answered in the next few episodes.

Predictions:

  1. In the preview for next episode it looks like the Military Police Officer that is sneaking up on the group is actually Marlow, Annie’s friend from when she was with the MP. You can see him being threatened by Jean, and Levi talking to him. I think he could be pretty important going forward since he joined the Military Police to try and fix it. If this is him, hopefully his story here will make me like him more because I do not really care for him at this stage.
  2. Dimo Reeves’ son Flegel saw Kenny murder his father so could be the key to proving Erwin innocent. He also must have heard Kenny refer to Levi as an “Ackerman” so he will be probably be the one to drop the bombshell that Levi and Mikasa are related. We can see him being captured by the Military Police in the preview but it also looks like he will be saved by Hange and Moblit.
  3. With the confirmation that you now need to eat a Titan Shifter to become one it looks like my grim theory about how Eren became a Titan is correct. Once again, I will not say it because I do not want to potentially spoil you, but I do think it will be revealed soon. Unless of course I am completely wrong about this.
  4. Kenny is certainly living up to his serial killer nickname of “The Ripper”. Forget Levi, I think this guy has the highest kill count out of any character. He has probably murdered hundreds of people and I do not expect him to stop here. I dread to see what he will do next.

 

The Walking Dead: Issue 182 – More of the same.

3 stars

WARNING: Major spoiler for the issue.
In my review of the previous issue of The Walking Dead, I stated I was getting a bit annoyed about how it had been a while since the story of the comics had any genuine excitement.
Sadly, it looks like that trend continued with the latest issue, number 182, The Commonwealth Grows.
Just like Issue 181 though, there was nothing bad about this Issue.
It was good, it just continued the cycle of not much excitement happening.
However, even if there was not anything bad about this issue, there was something about it that felt off.
In the opening moments of the issue, we meet up with the minor character John, the new leader of the Sanctuary.
This scene felt off because John was a completely different character to the one seen in previous issues.
He seemed a lot more generous and willing to work with people, which is a complete contradiction to how he was in previous Issues.
This inconsistency was quite jarring but I do think it is slightly implied that it may be an act to get what he wants.
I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.
Other than this, the issue was enjoyable, although once again lacking in the exciting department, as we got to see Pamela Milton meet and interact with all of the other communities.
One thing I did find particularly interesting was Pamela’s interest in learning about Negan.
It was a brief moment but possibly hints at her potentially trying to have him executed for his crimes, which could be an interesting story if Kirkman goes that route.
Pamela asking Rick about Negan was not the only interesting character interaction this issue though, as Dwight finally made up with Rick over Sherry’s death.
While I am glad that the two are back on the same page once again, this makes their entire conflict feel very forced and unnecessary, considering literally nothing came out of it.
The two best scenes of the issue in my mind though, were the moment when everyone learned about Michonne’s daughter being alive and Rick’s conversation with Mercer.
The scene where everyone learned about Elodie and just stared at Pamela in blank shock was pretty hilarious and Rick and Mercer’s scene seems to be hinting at future events.
Rick explains to Mercer about how their system works and Mercer seems obviously disgruntled with the way the Commonwealth does things.
This could be once again hinting at a coup committed by Mercer.
This scene also really made me love Mercer because it explained why he does not agree with the Commonwealth’s system.
The system has actually left Mercer well off, protecting people like he has always wanted to do.
The thing Mercer does not agree with it that there are others in the Commonwealth “not living their lives to the fullest”.
This shows Mercer to be a very selfless person who is concerned about the well-being of others and really made me like him as a character.
Other than this, Issue 182 was a fairly standard Issue.
What really has me excited is what is coming.
The cover of Issue 183 promises a riot in the Commonwealth and, based on what I saw in this issue and on the cover of Issue 184, it looks like Eugene is planning to get a train going between Rick’s communities and the Commonwealth.
I am genuinely excited to read the next few issues as the story looks to be more exciting there.
As for this issue it is still good but it is just more of the same.

Attack on Titan: Season three, episode two, Pain – Spoiler free and spoiler review: The plot thickens.

5 stars

Spoiler Free Review:

Wow, what an amazing episode this was.
After a really good season three premiere, I was expecting the second episode, Pain, to be an exciting episode but this just blew all my expectations out of the water.
I found Pain to not just be a fantastic Attack on Titan episode but one of my favourite episodes of the series.
It is definitely in the top 10 best episodes for me.
The episode kicks off with one of the greatest action scenes of the entire series, which is amplified by the incredible animation that is the best the series has ever given us as well.
The tension of this scene is highlighted by the conflict between Levi and Kenny, who are the standouts of this episode by a wide margin.
Kenny already seems like a character I am going to love to hate.
Pain does not just consist of action though, but emotional moments as well.
One thing I especially loved is that it makes it clear that not all of Kenny’s squad are evil and goes as far as to humanize some of them.
This all leads to some great character development from Armin, my favourite character.
Then there are the twists in the story and hints at future events, which are expertly handled.
I have said before that Attack on Titan has my favourite soundtrack of all time and this episode really shows why.
The score that is played just as the episode ends is nothing short of phenomenal and makes the cliffhanger of the episode all the more impactful.
We also finally got to see the outro theme this episode and, while I still have mixed feelings about the intro, I think this outro nailed it.
It is an amazing song and has beautiful visuals to go along with it.
Finally, it is interesting to note that every shot we got in the trailer for this season was only for the first two episodes so everything we see after this will be completely new, which is really exciting.
Overall, Pain was a fantastic episode that had excellent animation, action, music and character development.

Spoiler Review

The previous episode, Smoke Signal, ended with the fantastic introduction of Kenny and this episode picked up right from there with Levi fighting Kenny and his squad, who are armed with their anti-personnel omni-directional mobility gear (man that was a mouthful).
As I said in my spoiler free review, the animation during this fight is incredible and it only gets better when Levi is cornered in a bar.
This scene really highlights how interesting both Levi and Kenny are as Kenny seems to really get a kick out of the violence he is causing and Levi shows how smart he is by shooting at Kenny, his aim based off Kenny’s reflection in a bottle of wine.
After Levi escaped came my favourite part of the episode when Armin had to shoot a member of Kenny’s squad to save Jean’s life.
Watching Armin’s guilt at having to do this and highlighting the woman he killed’s humanity by having her hesitate to shoot Jean, before she was killed, was expertly done.
This not only was great character development for Armin but also showed that not everything is black and white.
Then there are the big twists of the episode, the first coming when Hange tells Erwin that if they do not rescue Eren then he will be eaten.
I am pretty sure I know what this means since I rewatched season two episode ten, Children, but I will not say what because I do not want to spoil you.
However, I will say that, if I am right, it will lead to the biggest and most heart breaking twist of the series thus far.
Then there was the twist that Levi and Mikasa have the same last name, Ackerman.
This means the two have to be related so it will be interesting to see how this is explained, most likely through Kenny.
As for the final twist, the Military Police officer who murdered Pastor Nick, Djel Sannes, admitted that Historia’s father, Rod Reiss is the real king and King Fritz is just a figurehead.
This means that Historia is the heir to the throne but it also opens up some interesting questions, like why does the crown need a figurehead and who actually is Fritz?
The next episode does look very intriguing as well based on the preview because there it will go into the pasts of both Erwin and Historia.
This will be interesting because it looks like both Erwin’s father and Historia’s mother were murdered by Sannes in the past, based on what he said this episode, so I wonder if that will tie into it.
Still, for the second episode of the season, Pain was a fantastic episode and one of the best of Attack on Titan.