Avatar: The Way of Water Review: Visually Stunning, as Expected.

I can still remember going to see the first Avatar movie as a kid all those years ago in 2009.
At the time, I was awed by the insane visuals and adored the film.
In the 13 years since, my passion for Avatar has dulled.
I still think its a good film with great CGI, even now, yet the issues with the story became more apparent to me as I got older.
Well, now, after over a decade, James Cameron has finally released the sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water. 

Does The Way of Water ascend or does it sink?

Going into the theatre, I was curious to see how I would feel about the film.
Oh, I had not doubt that I would once again be wowed by amazing CGI, but I wondered if I would love the story and characters line I did in 2009 or if I would be as jaded about it as I am now?
After seeing The Way of Water, I can say that it definitley needs to be seen in theatres.
The incredible visuals and CGI of the Na’vi and the world of Pandora make the film a spectacle to behold.
As for the story and characters, they hold the same quality of the original film, which is to say they are fairly generic yet not bad.
Honestly, The Way of Water retreads the structure of the first Avatar fairly often.
The film once again follows Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) who, in the many years since the events of the first movie, have started their own family.
This includes their three natural born children, Neteyam (James Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), and Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) .
They have also adopted a Na’vi girl named Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), who was born through unknown means by Grace’s Avatar, and a human boy named Spider (Jack Champion) who was left on Pandora by the fleeing humans.
It is these teenage characters who take up the majority of the screen time in The Way of Water so if they had been badly written or acted poorly then I think the film would have failed.
Thankfully, they all manage to be pretty likeable.
Although, I will say that it was quite jarring to have the 73-year-old Sigourney Weaver playing the teenage Kiri.
The fantastic CGI covered up this problem visually, yet Weaver’s voice sounded weird coming out of someone who is supposed to be a teenager.

Every time Kiri speaks she sounds way too old. You could make an argument that this is the point, to make her sound wiser beyond her years but I still found it off putting.

Along with the kids, the other main focus of the Way of Water is the Metkayina, a water tribe Na’Vi whose culture we spend the majority of the film exploring, after Jake and his family are forced to flee from their home when the humans come back with a vengance.
There was some pretty excellent world building with the Metkayina way of life, especially involving the whale species known as the Tulkan.
One of these Tulkan, Payakan, is a highlight in the film.

I’d be up for seeing more extremely intelligent alien whales in more Avatar films.

Despite fleeing their home, Jake and his family are still pursued by Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), who returns as the main antagonist.
When I heard he would be returning, I dreaded a retcon, considering that Quaritch died at the end of the the first movie.
However, I actually really liked the way he was brought back and used in the film.
It was inventive and made a lot of sense. 
What did not make a lot of sense were some parts of the third act.
For example, an entire army just seems to vanish in the final battle just so the last fight can be more personal.
There is also a tense scene between Spider and Neytiri, which is never addressed afterwards, which was extremely weird because it felt like there should be some consequences from this event.
Maybe Cameron is saving the fallout for the next movie?

It will honestly be pretty bizarre if what happens to Spider at the end of The Way of Water is never addressed.

These problems aside, the third act is actually pretty great, with a lot of well shot action set pieces.
As a whole, the film works pretty cohesively, some plot holes aside.
It does run over three hours and that is mostly due to the long second act exploring the Metkayina culture but, as someone who enjoys good world building, I liked it.
All in all, The Way of Water is a good sequel to the original Avatar.
The visuals are, of course, incredible, and the story and characters are well done, although mostly nothing new.
It will definitely make for a better viewing experience in the threatres so, again, I would recommend watching it there.
I am also interested to hear about the future of this franchise and how far it will go, since the budget for each following movie will likely be extreme.
If James Cameron’s full vision for the Avatar story is realized, it will certainly make for stunning visual experience after stunning visual experience.
So, with my review out of the way, I only have one more thing to say.
Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Chainsaw Man Chapter 114, Endless Aquarium Review: I’m Seeing Double.

Not long ago, the Chainsaw Man anime wrapped up the Eternity Devil Arc.
Now, in the manga, we seem to be entering a very similar arc, with not only the same concept but very similar characters, leading to me seeing double.
Chapter 114, “Endless Aquarium” begins in the aftermath of Asa and Denji realizing that they are stuck in a loop inside the aquarium.
Well, at least Denji realizes it because Asa apparently refuses to belive it, marching along the hallway, looking for a way out, while refusing to believe Denji’s story of the loop being the Eternity Devil’s doing.
She states that she is in the Devil Hunter Club so she knows more about Devils than him, which is not true but is corroborated by Haruka Iseumi who is also revealed to have been stuck in the loop, alongside Seigi Akoku, the Devil Hunter who lost an eye to Yuko, another Devil Hunter Club member, and even Yoshida.
It is not surprising to see all these characters stuck togethor.
The Devil Hunter Club makes sense because they probably came with Fami, and Yoshida makes sense because he was probably tailing Denji to make sure he does not reveal himself as Chainsaw Man.
This job should be easy for Yoshida, considering that Haruka is there and he is most likely the fake Chainsaw Man.
Speaking of Haruka, there is a pretty good gag where he attempts to introduce himself to the others twice and is cut off both times.
First, by the arrival of Yoshida, and second by the final member of the Devil Hunter Club who freaks out and starts sweating and crying about being trapped in the loop, screaming that they only joined the Devil Hunter Club because their mother said it would get them a scholarship.
Sound familiar?
When I said that I was seeing double, I was not just referring to the storyline but also the characters because this new character looks and acts exactly like Kobeni, right down to the hair pins and moles on their face.
I actually thought this was Kobeni for a couple of seconds, before I realized that she was 20 in Part One so there is no way she would be in school.
This lead me to thinking that the new character is one of Kobeni’s many sisters, or perhaps her brother since this character is supposedly a boy.
However, Kobeni’s brother is said to be older than her so he should also not be in school.
As for this character being one of Kobeni’s sisters, again, the character is supposedly male due to the way I have heard he adresses himself in Japanese, plus he wears the male school uniform.
It is still not out of the question for him to still be related to Kobeni in some way, though.
Perhaps he is just an unmentioned brother?
I do have to wonder why Fujimoto would introduce a character who looks and acts exactly like Kobeni, though?
It just seems to be a bit of a weird choice.
In any case, after the interruptions, Hurka is finally able to introduce himself on his third attempt and asserts leadership over the trapped group.
This causes Asa to have a bit of dilemma, as she wonders if she should either turn Denji into a weapon so Fami will let them go or kill Haruka because she thinks he is the real Chainsaw Man.
While she ponders this, the group look around and, just like in the Eternity Devil Arc, find there is no way out of the loop.
Unlike that arc, however, they do have enough food and water to last a good while.
Not for Asa, though, because she says she cannot eat fish because they remind her of a dead animal.
This is probably due to her trauma from killing Bucky, yet it still earns her a lot of weird looks from the group, causing Asa to leave and then run into Denji, who reluctantly tells her of how he is taking 1,000 yen in a bag he found.
Asa calls him a theif, telling him he is not helping, leading to Denji accusing her of not being helpful either, humorously ending with the two screaming at each other to go to hell repeatedly, as Denji storms off.
Asa seeks reassurance from Yoru, temporarily forgetting that Fami took her away.
I liked this little moment because it shows that Asa is slowly learning to care about the War Devil and value her input, despite wanting her body back.
Realizing that she is on her own and feeling insecure about Denji’s accusation of her not contributing, Asa tries to figure out a way to help the group, only to remember she has a celluar phone from her mother.
She triumphantly reveals this to the group, who all cheer for her as she attempts to find a signal, only for her to typically fall over and break her phone, horrifying the group, except for Yoshida who gets a good chuckle out of it.
Haruka, on the other hand, is extremely disappointed, condemning her constant complaints, refusal to work with the group and now her ruining their one escape attempt.
Ashamed, Asa goes out into the hallway and sits alone, crumpling in on herself and bringing Chapter 114 to a close.
“Endless Aquarium” is a good chapter, overall.
It builds up some of the new characters well, like Haruka, who really came off as the self-aggrandising wannabe leader in this chapter.
However, I do think this arc is just way too similar to the Eternity Devil Arc, at this point.
Not only do we have the same Devil antagonist but pretty much the same character through a Kobeni clone.
It feels kind of like a retread, instead of something really new and interesting.
Let’s hope Fujimoto can add something to make this arc standout a bit in the coming chapters.

Chainsaw Man Episode 10, Bruised & Battered Review: A Brutal Training Arc.

After the two chaotic battle episodes, Episode 10 of Chainsaw Man, “Bruised & Battered” picks up in the aftermath.
Directed by Tatsuya Yoshihara, “Bruised & Battered” begins with Aki waking up in the hostpital to see Denji and Power fighting over an apple at his bedside, with Denji refusing to give her one because she skedaddled during their fight with Katana Man.
Aki interrupts this humorous fight with the somber question of how many others in Division 4 are still alive.
Denji tells him that only Kobeni and Madoka are, although Madoka quit.
After telling him this, Denji and Power leave to meet with Makima but Denji decides to leave Aki an apple, in a parallel to an earlier scene where Aki too gave Denji an apple in the hostpital.
Now alone, Aki takes out his nail sword and asked the Curse Devil how long he has left.
In the manga we only see the Curse’s mouth as it tells Aki he has two years left to live.
This was updated in the anime to have the Curse Devil actually appear over Aki’s shoulder, which was a nice and creepy change.
Having recieved this terrible news, Aki decides to have a cigarette, only for this to remind him of Himeno, which finally causes him to break down crying, something which Himeno admired him for and wanted him to do for her.
Denji is outside Aki’s room when this happens, since he planned to go back to get his dropped manga, but feels awkward about entering.
This leads to him realizing that he does not really feel all that sad about Himeno dying, even though they became friends right before it happened.
Realizing he would not feel bad for long even if Makima died, Denji begins to question his own humanity, only to comedically brush it off and go with Power to meet Makima at the Devil Hunter graveyard.
Upon arriving, she introduces them to Kishibe, Himeno’s mentor and the strongest Devil Hunter there is.
Kishibe asks them three questions, what did they feel when their comrades died, do they want revenge, and are they on the side of the humans or the devils?
Denji and Power’s following answers are both comedic and would raise serious questions for other Devil Hunters about their loyalty.
Not Kishibe.
No, instead he sees two trainees with a couple of screws loose, the perfect quality for a Devil Hunter according to him.
And since they are Devils themselves, this means he can go all out on them, which he proceeds to do when he sends Makima away, before breaking both Denji and Power’s necks.
He then revives them using blood and explains how their training will work.
Since they are mostly immortal, and he is the best Devil Hunter there is, he will continue to hunt both of them down until they can defeat him, eventually turning them into “serious badasses.”
Well, it will probably take a long time for that last step to happen because Denji and Power get absolutley destroyed by Kishibe in their first fight, in a bloody and well-animated fashion.
Since this was a smaller fight in the manga, I did not expect it to be so great to look at in the anime.
Yet, it was.
I think I just need to expect everything in the Chainsaw Man adaptation is going to have amazing animation at this rate.
Mappa just seem to be that dedicated to getting it right.
While Denji and Power’s brutal tortu-I mean training is happening, Aki is recieving coaching from Kurose and Tendo, who reveal to him that the Fox Devil will no longer work with him because he angered it by trying to feed it Katana Man.
They give him two options.
Either quit and enjoy the time he has left or stay and sacrifice more of his life with Devil contracts.
Aki decides to stay, still determined to avenge his family and now Himeno as well.
Speaking of Himeno, Aki is then visited by her little sister.
Thankfully, this meeting goes much better than Himeno’s with the families of her dead partners.
Himeno’s sister simply gives Aki a letter which gives both him and us as the audience insight into her life.
It also reveals to Aki that she was hoping to convince him to quit so he would live.
Unfortunately, Himeno’s death has only pushed Aki further down the path he is on.
Later that night, Kishibe calls an end to the days training with Denji and Power, leaving the two to recover.
And by recover, I mean Power bashing Denji’s head in until he comes back to himself.
Once restored, the two begin to walk home, dismayed over how much worse Kishibe’s extreme training will make their lives.
Suddenly, Power comes up with a genius plan to defeat Kishibe.
They will just use their brains!
Yep, with all two of their shared brain cells.
Impressive right?
We see this plan come to fruition the next day, as Denji and Power put on glasses to become smart and then initiate their attack on Kishibe when he arrives at their apartment.
It goes as well as you would expect.
First, Kishibe dodges and destroys Power’s blood spears with no effort, making her anemic from using too much blood.
Second, he kicks Denji to the ground after he sees his shadow when he leaps down to strike him a hatchet.
Regardless, Kishibe is impressed by their effort so he gives them the day off training.
Or that is what he tells them at least because, after Denji joyfully tells Power they have the day off, Kishibe throws a knife into his skull declaring, “Beasts shouldn’t trust anything a hunter says.”
All of Kishibe’s scenes in this episode were great, being perfectly animated.
And, I will say it again, Kenjiro Tsudya is just fantastic as Kishibe.
I honestly don’t think anyone better could have been cast.
After Kishibe’s final scene, the episode then ends on one of Aki’s as Kurose and Tendo take him to make a contract with the Future Devil.
Two other people have contracts with it.
One gave up half of their lifespan, the other his eyes, sense of smell and taste.
So things are not looking good for Aki with this contract.
The dread deepens as Aki enters the cell with the Future Devil and sees its eye peering out at him from the darkness, ending the episode on another cliffhanger, before transitioning to the tenth ED, “Dogland” by People 1.
“Bruised and Battered” is a solid Chainsaw Man episode.
While not as exciting as the previous two episodes, it is a good set up episode, and does a fantastic job of adapting Kishibe.

Manga Spoilers:
The episode ends right before we see the Future Devils form and personality so I am interested to see how many anime only viewers will react to that, along with it prophecising Aki dying in “the worst way imagineable.”
Along with this, I am also curious about where exactly the adaptation will end.
There is only supposed to be twelve episodes after all.
I originally thought it would end with Denji’s nightmare about the door after defeating Katana Man, bookending this part the way it began.
However, there may not be enough content for this, unless some scenes get cut.
No matter what gets adapted and what does not, though, I have full faith in Mappa to adapt the following chapters as excellently as they have the previous ones.
The future rules indeed.

Chainsaw Man Episode Nine, From Kyoto Review: POP Goes the Yakuza!

After the insansity of Chainsaw Man truly began last episode, Episode Nine, “From Kyoto” continues this, with many moments I was excited to see from the manga being adapted excellently.
Directed by Takahiro Kaneko, “From Kyoto” begins by briefly recaping the previous episode through showing Himeno’s death, as she gives all of her strength to the Ghost Devil in the hopes of beating the mysterious girl, named Sawatari, and Katana Man.
As we know from “Gunfire”, this unfortunately fails as Sawatari uses the Snake Devil to eat the Ghost and Himeno vanishes entirely.
It seems like the Yakuza have won this fight until, with the last of its strength, the Ghost Devil pulls Denji’s ripcord, causing him to heal and transform into his Chainsaw form.
As he and Katana Man prepare face off, we hear “Hawatari 2 Oku-senchi” begin to play for the third time in this show.
Once again, the makers of the anime seem to really like this song and I, for one, cannot blame them.
It really is a banger and it suits the build up to Denji’s fight with Katana Man well.
We see the fight after the opening, brief as it is, and it is as exceptionally animated as the action in the previous episode.
Sawatari calls for backup and they eventually arrive but they only prove to be a hinderance as Denji takes one of the men hostage pretty easily.
The hinderance is a small one, however, because Katana Man is absolutley not concerned about killing his own men as he uses the same attack he used to defeat Aki, slicing both Denj and his own subordinate in half.
Katana Man then prepares to take Denji’s body to their van as his own hyrid form melts, before proclaiming that Devil Hunters are no match for guns.
Following this statement, we get a brief montage proving him right, as we see Arai and various other Devil Hunters who drank with Denji the night before have been killed.
Makima seems to be among them, until her assassins look back at her body, only to see she has somehow resurrected herself, in an exceptionally creepy shot.
At the train station where Makima was heading, two other Devil Hunters, Kurose (Kengo Kawanishi) and Tendo (Hitomi Ueda), are waiting for her arrival when they hear about the attacks on the Devil Hunter divisions.
They believe Makima is dead, until she steps off the arriving train covered in blood.
She lies, stating that she was not hit and the blood she is covered in is not her own.
That last detail is probably partially true because we then cut to an overhead shot looking down inside the train, where Makima’s would-be assassins have all been brutally killed with large holes seeming to have been blown through their stomachs.
Instead of heading to Tokyo, Makima instead orders Kurose and Tendo to gather 30 convicts with life sentences or worse and then take them to a highly elevated temple.
We then get an anime only scene of Makima preparing for her gruesome plan, as she redresses herself, while the convicts are brought to the temple, having what they do not know will be their final meal on the way.
The scene then cuts to back with Katana Man and Sawatari, as they and their Yaukza subordinates are loading Denji into their van, only for the subodrinates to start exploding in a bloody game of Pop Goes the Yakuza!
We then see exactly how Makima is making this happen.
Atop the temple, she has the prisoners, and Tendo and Kurose blindfolded.
This is so Tendo and Kurose cannot see what Devil she is contracted with and probably so the prisoners will not panic when they start dying.
Makima goes from prisoner to prisoner, ordering them to say the full name of each Yakuza member.
She then squishes her hands togethor, squishing the Yaukza and also killing the prisoner in the process.
This horrible ability is perfectly portrayed from the manga, displaying just how gruesome all of this is, with one shot of a gun laying in a puddle of blood being particuarly striking.
Just as unnerving is Makima’s demeanor after doing all of this, as she calmly declares that this is all she can do from here.
For whatever reason, Makima did not harm Katana Man or Sawatari, and they prepare to load Denji into their van, only to stop when they see an unexpected person approaching: Kobeni.
We then get the payoff to Himeno saying how skilled she was in the Eternity Devil Arc.
Sawatari sends the Snake Devil to kill her but Kobeni easily jumps over it and runs along the tail, jumping to slice off Katana Man’s hand, catch his gun in midair, and then shoot him with it without even looking.
She then uses Denji as a shield when Sawatari attempts to shoot her, forcing Sawatari to retreat with Katana Man.
Kobeni does all of this with her perpetually depressed expression, which is understandable given the trauma she just experienced.
In a flashback, it is revealed that when the old lady fired at Kobeni and Arai, Arai sacrificed himself for her, giving Kobeni enough time to get behind the old lady and make her shoot herself.
This unfortunately creates a lot of survivors guilt for Kobeni as, after apologising to Denji for trying to kill him earlier, she has a breakdown, laughing and crying over how she is apologising for attempted murder and  how Arai died for her.
She declares that she will tell Himeno she quits the next time she sees her, doubling the tragedy because we already know Himeno is dead.
I wonder if anime only viewers will have warmed up to Kobeni now that she has had her big moment?
Many of them hated her because of her actions in the Eternity Devil Arc.
I did too when I read the manga but my negative opinion of her turned around after she saved Denji and I wonder if this is the same for anime only viewers?
The final scene of the episode then sees Makima meeting with Madoka, the sole survivor among the newly introduced Devil Hunters who went out with Denji and the others the night before.
Madoka announces that the divisions are being merged because of the assassinations, leaving Makima in charge.
He then quits his job because he believes its leave the Devil Hunting profession or die, before all but accusing Makima of knowing this whole thing was going to happen.
Makima, however, neither confirms nor denies this, stating she cannot share such information with civilians.
As she leaves with Kurose and Tendo, the two are obviously creeped out by Makima as well now.
They timidly try to get away from her by saying they are only staying in Tokyo briefly so they can train people.
Makima states that this is a shame because, “The dining in Tokyo is to die for,” bringing an end to the episode.
Way to not seem creepy, Makima.
After the episode ends, we get our ninth ED “Deep Down” by Aimer, which is right up there with “Hawatari 2 Oku-senchi” and “First Death” in terms of quality.
Overall, “From Kyoto” is probably my favourite episode of Chainsaw Man so far.
It perfectly adapts great moments like Kobeni rescuing Denji, Makima’s revival, and then her brutal game of Pop Goes the Yakuza!

Manga Spoilers:
One addition to the anime that I liked was the use of crows when the Yakuza began exploding.
We know from the manga that Makima can control various animals, like rats and crows.
The crows flying around when the Yakuza start popping show that Makima is using them to confirm that she is hitting her targets.
Either that or the crows play some role in the popping.
As for Makima leaving Katana Man and Sawatari alive, I am still curious about her reason for doing so.
Maybe it was so she could obtain their power later, as we see her doing so in the final couple of arcs in Part One.

Wednesday Review: Jenna Ortega Murders It.

The Addams Family are pop culture icons who have been around since the 1930s, appearing in sketch cartoons, movies and TV series.
Despite knowing of them, I have never had any previous exposure to their stories before, at least not to my knowledge.
All I knew about them was what I had heard, which was that they are a macabre family with quite a few deathly interests that creep out everyone else around them.
Having never personally seen anything Addams Family related before, this put me in an interesting position when watching the new Netflix series Wednesday, since I had no idea what to expect going in, apart from what the trailers had shown.
Having finished the show, I can say that this I believe this be a good introduction to the Addams Family, if you have not seen any of their movies or shows before, like me.

The show does a good job of highlighting each member of The Addams Family’s crazy personalities.

With the first four episodes directed by Tim Burton, Wednesday follows the titular daughter of the Addams Family who, after being expelled from her school for quite literally neutering a school bully using piranha, is sent to Nevermore Academy, a school for supernatural teenagers.
However, upon arriving, Wednesday quickly learns that the school is being haunted by a murderous monster, and by that I don’t mean Wednesday herself.
The series then follows Wednesday’s journey to uncover the mystery of Nevermore Academy, a mystery which is pretty predictable, to be honest, although I will get to that later.
For now, just like pretty much every person who has reviewed this show, I want to heap praise on Jenna Ortega for her fantastic performance as Wednesday.
She is delightfully morbid, with plenty of excellent instances of deadpan humor.
Even her movements match the character, with one dance scene she has being the best scene in the show, in my opinion.

Wednesday’s dance is a lot of fun, as the dance alone tells you pretty much everything you need to know about her character without dialogue.

The rest of the Addams Family are also quite likeable, with Gomez (Luiz Guzman) being the center of his own mystery, and Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) constantly being at odds with Wednesday.
It is also pretty endearing to see how protective Wednesday is of her brother Pugsley (Isaac Ordonez) as his sole tormentor, and how one of the few times she genuinely smiles in this show (other than when she attempts murder) is when she greets her Uncle Fester (Fred Armisen).
The award for best bond Wednesday has with a family member definitley goes to her interactions with Thing.
Thing is a sentient severed hand who Wednesday uses as a servant and sometimes reluctant advisor and it is often morbidly humorous to see her talking with him.
What is less fun is the love triangle Wendesday goes through this season.
Two characters, Xavier (Percy Hynes White) and Tyler (Hunter Doohan), are after her affections, yet I never felt like Wednesday was truly interested in either of them romantically.
To be honest, I was much more invested in Wednesday’s friendships with Enid (Emma Myers), her roommate and polar opposite in every capacity, and Eugune (Moosa Mostafa), a confident bee keeper. 

This excellent shot alone tells you how different Wednesday and Enid are.

The rest of the cast, including Gwendoline Christie, Joy Sunday, and Christina Ricci, who has also played Wendesday in the past, are very good in their roles, as well.
It is Jenna Ortega who really steals the show, however, as she is clearly giving everything she has to absolutely murder this role.
If they had not got Wednesday right, the show would have faltered because, honestly, the whole mystery is really not that mysterious, or at least for me it was not.
It is here where I will get into my biggest issue with Wednesday, but this does come with a slight spoiler warning because, while I do not say what exactly happens, my wording does indicate it.
So if you have not watched the show and don’t want to be spoiled then I would stop reading this review and just go watch it because it is really good.
Now, for my big problem with Wednesday, which is the red herrings.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I encountered such obvious and frustrating ones.
The red herrings in Wednesday are such apparent distractions, yet the writing keeps beating you over the head with them, trying to convince you that they are the culprits, when the real ones are so blindingly obvious.   

The red herring characters are clearly that right from the get-go. Never once did I believe they were actually guilty.

I was literally shouting at the screen whenever Wednesday kept insisting she had solved the mystery, while it was so evident that she had not.
Despite this, and a few other issues, like the love triangle, Wednesday is a good show that has a lot of good morbid humor and a standout performance form Jenna Ortega.
I would definitley watch a second season and, if it gets the green light, hopefully it will have a better mystery. 

Chainsaw Man Chapter 113, I Wanna See Penguins! Review: The Second Hand Embarrassment Devil is Real.

Chapter 112 of Chainsaw Man ended with Asa asking Denji out on a date so she could use him as a potential weapon to help Yoru take down Chainsaw Man, unaware that he is actually Denji.
Going into Chapter 113, “I Wanna See Penguins!” I am sure that many of us expected it would be Denji to comedically ruin their date, possibly with the help of Nayuta.
Thus, I was surprised at first to see that it was Asa who ruined it but this made complete sense given how she did it.
Asa actually looks pretty confident before the date, as the chapter begins with her getting ready for it, checking her outfit and reflection in the mirror.
Yoru wants her to add some flair to her appearance but Asa remains sure of her ability to get Denji to fall for her on their date at the aquairum.
Her plan?
To become a walking, talking wikipedia article on every single fish and animal in the aquarium.
The next two pages are of her monologuing to Denji on and on about sea anemones and star fish, to which Denji looks incredibly bored.
If there is such thing as a Second Hand Embarrassment Devil then I undobutedly made it stronger reading this chapter because I felt so embarrassed for Asa.
I will admit, it was impressive for her to remember all of those details after just studying about them at the library, however; one-way conversations are certainly not how dates should go.
Both partners need to have an equal standing for it to work and, most importantly, you don’t tell your date to shut up when they try to talk with you, which is exactly what Asa does after Denji constantly suggests they go and see the penguins.
Asa then states the worst thing she could have possibly said to Denji, “You don’t need to think about a thing.”
This statement obviously hits Denji deeply, when you consider his background.
In Part One, Denji gave himself over entirely to Makima, allowing her to think for him, and this lead to him opening the door, after which Makima killed Power.
Now free from Makima’s control, Denji definitley does not want to be under anyone’s thumb again and he tells Asa as much, stating that he has decided to think about stuff his own way.
He then storms off to see the penguins, since he has never seen them before.
Yoru wants Asa to go after Denji but Asa refuses, believing she did not do anything wrong.
This results in Yoru calling Asa “a total bore” for her prior rants, only making Asa angrier as she insists she did nothing wrong.
Yoru clearly does not agree but the mysterious girl who resurrected Yuko previously states that she does agree, appearing as if from nowhere.
As Asa stammers in shock at her appearance, the mysterious girl says that Denji is not someone who knows the difference between right and wrong, potentially hinting that she actually knows he is the real Chainsaw Man.
She then states that Asa is wrong to believe she could turn Denji into a weapon because she wants to do the right thing.
This made me wonder if Asa had actually purposefully ruined the date so she would not have to kill Denji.
Although, her being angry about Denji and Yoru not appreciating her monologues could contridict this, unless Asa ruined the date subconciously.
In any case, Asa asks the mysterious girl how she knows her power and the girl finally introduces herself as the Famine Devil, Yoru’s big sister, who perfers to be called Fami.
This confirms her to be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, alongside Yoru and Nayuta.
That just leaves the Death Devil.
Yoru panics about Fami’s arrival, telling Asa not to listen to her, only for Fami to teleport them away from Asa with a snap of her fingers.
Fami then telepathically speaks with Asa, telling her she will not allow her to leave the aquarium until she turns Denji into a weapon.
Due to this, and Fami potentially suggesting she knows Denji is Chainsaw Man earlier, it makes me wonder if this is all some big scheme to kill him?
If Fami is also the Justice Devil then she may be able to read minds like Yuko, which could be how she learned of Denji’s identity.
Then she created her own Chainsaw Man, Haruka Iseumi, hoping to replace Denji with him, all for whatever end goal she has.
This is just a theory about Fami’s intentions, though.
Back to the chapter; after Fami tells Asa that she can only leave if she turns Denji into a weapon, the man himself appears with a problem.
He and Asa are now stuck in the aquarium, as the Eternity Devil appears to have reincarnated from hell and trapped them in a loop.
Thinking about it, it does make a lot of sense that the Famine and Eternity Devil are working togethor.
Fami herself says that, “any human should be capable of abandoning their morality when they’re starving,” and, in the Eternity Devil Arc, many of Denji’s squad were afraid of starving in the loop the Eternity Devil trapped them in; a fear which would have made Fami stronger.
So now Fami has likely enlisted the help of the Eternity Devil to attempt to take out Denji again.
How the Eternity Devil intends to do this when it got absolutley obliterated last time, I have no idea.
We will just have to wait two weeks to see, when we get Chapter 114.
As for “I Wanna See Penguins!”, it is a solid Chainsaw Man chapter, providing plenty of second hand embarassment for Asa, delving briefly into Denji’s trauma, and finally revealing the mysterious girl as the Famine Devil as many theorized.
It will be intereting to see how Denji and Asa get out of this situation in the coming chapters.

The Callisto Protocol Review: Frustrating Rather Than Scary.

Dead Space is one of the most renowned survival horror games of all time.
So, when a supposed spiritual successor, The Callisto Protocol was announced, many gamers, including myself, were excited.
Directed by Glen Schofield, one of the minds behind Dead Space, The Callisto Protocol has you playing as Jacob Lee (Josh Duhamel), a cargo transporter taking medical supplies to the moon called Callisto, where the Black Iron Prison is located.
After his ship is nearly hijacked by a group of terrorists called the Outer Way, led by Dani Nakamura (Karen Fukuhara), Jacob crash lands on Callisto.
He and Dani are then imprisoned in Callisto by the nefarious warden, Duncan Cole (James C. Mathais III), and prison guard, Leon Ferris (Sam Witwer).
However, at the exact same time, a zombie virus known as the Biophage begins ravaging the prison, turning both prisoners and guards alike into undead monsters.
Left with no other choice, Jacob and Dani have to work together if they want to escape, alongside another prisoner named Elias Porter (Zeke Alton).

Jacob and Dani have to put aside their differences to survive the horrors of Callisto.

The story of The Callisto Protocol is fine.
It is incredibly predictable and does absolutely nothing new.
I feel the same way about the characters.
I did not hate them but neither did I love them.
They were all just okay.
But this is a video game so the story and characters do not have to shine so long as the gameplay is great.
Well, unfortunately, this is where The Callisto Protocol mostly falters.
Since The Callisto Protocol was supposed to be a spiritual successor to Dead Space, not exactly like it, the developers had to make the Biophages different from the Necromorphs.
So no shooting the limbs to kill them.
Instead, they added two features to make Biophages stand apart from Dead Space’s iconic enemies.
The first of these is the combat, which is melee focused instead of gun focused.
The second is the Biophage’s tentacles, which, if you do not shoot, will cause them to mutate into a stronger enemy.

A mutated Biophage is much, much stronger than a regular one.

Sad to say, both of these gameplay features do not really work out in the long run.
The Biophages mutation process is interesting and fun to play around the first few times it happens but you will quickly notice that the mutations all look and fight exactly the same with no differentiation.
Likewise, the enemy variety is quite lacking in The Callisto Protocol, with there being about six or so different enemy types and at least three of them, just like the mutations, look and fight mostly the same.
The problems with the melee combat are far worse, though.
Credit where it is due, the dodging mechanic is pretty fun when you are fighting one or two enemies.
However, all of this falls apart when you inevitably get surrounded.
The camera view in The Callisto Protocol is quite limited, with it being focused over Jacob’s shoulder.
Thus, when you are swarmed by Biophages, it is incredibly easy for the ones behind you to attack Jacob without you even seeing them.
What makes this worse is that Jacob often seems to target whichever Biophage is closest in this swarm so the camera will constantly be flying around while he is trying to hit enemies.
With all of this and the Biophages running around the screen, the combat is so chaotic that is becomes incredibly difficult to tell what is happening and whether you should be dodging or attacking.
You cannot switch to shooting enemies either because that often does so little damage, and attempting to use the grip in this melee will just result in getting hit.
Add the constantly mutating Biophages and you end up with a combat system that results in a lot of deaths, which is highly frustrating.

Prepare to die a lot in The Callisto Protocol when you get surrounded and cannot see what is happening.

That is the word I would use to describe The Callisto Protocol: Frustrating, not scary.
The marketing talked big about how scary this game would be but this was so often not the case.
For example, I never once jumped at a jumpscare because of how highly telegraphed they all were, especially in cutscenes.
There are admittedly a few creepy moments, like one combat encounter when some Biophages hide in the trees, and when you first fight some blind enemies.
However, the creep factor for that latter encounter is completely wrecked by a whole bunch of cognitive dissonance.
You are supposed to stay completely silent when killing the Blind so you don’t get surrounded but Jacob has such a loud stealth attack that it should alert them to his location.
Yet, it does not. 

The Blind are creepy, until you realize you can just loudly stealth kill them with no consequence.

The gameplay of Callisto Protocol just has a lot of issues, including its checkpoint system, which often loads you in before you did your upgrades, the extreme linearity of the levels, and the final boss, which has a massive and unfair difficulty spike.   
Also, you should probably not buy this game on PC because it apparently has a lot of stuttering issues.
I bought the game on PS5 and it ran smoothly throughout.
I know I have been criticizing The Callisto Protocol a lot but I do want to end on some positives.
Like I said, despite its many issues, the combat is pretty good when you are only fighting a few Biophages.
The grip in particular is a lot of fun, as you can use it to throw enemies into spikes, impaling them.
Speaking of impalement, Jacob has a lot of gory deaths, which are awesome to see.
Granted, these drawn out deaths do become frustrating when you die over and over again but they are still done well.
The biggest compliment I can give The Callisto Protocol, though, is its graphics.
The photo realism in this game is absolutely incredible, especially when it comes to the characters’ facial animations.
They not only look exceptional in cutscenes but outside of them as well.
I remember just stopping Jacob a few times and turning the camera to look at his face and marveling at the level of detail. 

This is the kind of quality you can expect to see throughout the game.

In my opinion, The Callisto Protocol is definitely the best looking PlayStation game we have got so far.
Does this make it worth a buy, though?
Well, certainly not at full price with the many, many issues this game has.
The Callisto Protocol wanted to be a spiritual successor to Dead Space but it failed to live up to those expectations, presenting a game with a generic story and characters, along with incredibly frustrating combat that is rarely scary, despite this being a survival horror game.
Unfortunately for The Callisto Protocol, I think when the Dead Space remake drops in January 2023, we will quickly see its sails dip. 

Chainsaw Man Episode Eight, Gunfire Review: Let the Insanity Begin.

Directed by Shōta Goshozono and Takeshi Satō, Episode Eight of Chainsaw Man, “Gunfire” begins with an anime orginal moment that is very reminiscant of the scene where we followed Aki on his morning routine in Episode Four.
Just like that scene, “Gunfire” begins with us seeing Himeno’s nightly routine, before she makes a sexual advance on Denji.
The shots of her preparing a shower for herself and then later grabbing a beer are all just as well animated.
The episode then picks up from the last one, with Himeno propositioning Denji.
Again, the shots are well animated here, although with one exception.
There is a bird’s eye view shot looking down on the both of them which did look quite off to me.
However, this shot only lasts about five seconds or so, so it’s fine.
For a little while, it looks like Denji is actually going to sleep with Himeno, until she finds a chupa chup in his pocket.
This was given to Denji by Makima in the form of an indirect kiss, making Denji realize that he wants his first time to be with Makima, so he refuses to sleep with Himeno, instead taking the floor while Himeno passes out drunk on the bed.
The next morning, she and Denji have breakfast togethor.
Not remembering what happened last night, Himeno asks Denji if they had sex and is relieved to learn that they did not stating, “They toss you in jail for doing that kind of thing with minors.”
Yeah, not gonna lie, the whole Himeno making moves on Denji while she’s drunk is pretty creepy.
At least with Makima it was treated more sinister, since she was clearly manipulating him.
With Himeno its treated more like a joke.
This unintentionally creepy moment is thankfully moved on from quickly, as Himeno now offers to form an alliance with Denji.
He will help her get togethor with Aki, and Himeno, in turn, will help Denji get togethor with Makima.
Well, someone had better tell the assassins planning Makima’s murder to hold off then… oh, wait.
As a manga reader, it was pretty funny to watch the reaction of anime only viewers when Makima gets unexpectedly assassinated on a train to Kyoto.
Now they have a better idea of Chainsaw Man’s crazy pacing.
Often times, scenes will seem like slow build up, only to flip on a dime to absolute insanity.
In other stories this eratic pacing would be a problem but Tatsuki Fujimoto is such a good writer that he makes it work and the adaptation follows through on this.
After Makima is killed, the episode then shows that her assassination was not a one off, as other attempts are made on the lives of Devil Hunters across Tokyo.
Among the potential victims are Kobeni and Arai, who are unexpectedly targeted by an old lady but we do not see if they make it or not.
We do, however, see what happens to Denji, Himeno, Aki and Power, when they meet togethor for food.
They are confronted by a mysterious man, who just randomly inserts himself into their conversation, going on about his murderous yakuza grandpa.
The pieces slowly start coming togethor until the man pulls out a picture of him with his grandfather and we that it was the yakuza boss who had pretty much enslaved Denji in the first episode, until he was turned into a zombie by the Zombie Devil and then finished off by Denji.
Now supposedly working for the Gun Devil and out for revenge, the man takes out a gun and fires at the group, hitting Denji, Himeno and Aki.
Only Power manages to dodge and punch the man back, more than earning her noble prize.
Power’s attack gives Aki enough time to unleash the Fox Devil, which eats the man, only for him to reveal himself to be a hybrid devil like Denji, named Katana Man (Daiko Hamano).
With Denji out of comission and Himeno mortally wounded, Aki is left with no choice but to use the sword which drains some of his life to defeat Katana Man.
What follows is a fantastic fight sequence, as Aki stabs Katana Man with his nail blade three times, resulting in the Curse Devil intervening and supposedly killing him.
As Aki prepares to have Himeno taken to a hostpital, he is shocked to realize Katana Man used a gun, which should be impossible to get.
However, while Aki is talking about this, there is a piece of rubble in the way of his mouth, so we cannot see his lips move.
Rather than a stylistic choice, this came off to me as if they did not have the budget or time to animate his mouth moving after the fight scene so put this in the way until they could fix it later.
I may be wrong about this though but, if I’m not, then I do hope it is changed later because it is a little weird.
This is a minor moment though and it is easily forgotten when an unknown woman (Yō Taichi)shows up to help Katana Man to his feet, since he can revive just like Denji.
The mysterious girl orders Katana Man to kill Aki, which he certainly makes a good attempt at with an attack that causes quite the jump scare with the delayed blood splatter from Aki.
The girl then tells Katana to finish Aki off.
Desperate to save him, and with no other option, Himeno makes a final contract with the Ghost Devil.
She will give the Devil all of herself in exchange for using its full power.
The Ghost Devil’s true form then appears and Himeno directs it to attack Katana Man, all the while thinking about how Aki still cries for Devil Hunters who die.
Himeno’s last words to Aki are that she wants him to live so he can cry for her.
The Ghost Devil is then eaten by the mysterious girl’s Snake Devil and we see that Himeno has completley vanished, only her clothes remaining.
And so “Gunfire” comes to an end with Himeno’s sacrifice.
We then get the ED, “First Death” by TK.
Given TK’s reputation, like with his brilliant Tokyo Ghoul OP, I knew this was going to be a fantastic ED and he did not disappoint.
“Gunfire” was yet another fantastic Chainsaw Man episode.
Katana Man and the yakuza’s ambush was handled excellently and, aside from a few weird animation moments, I would not have had it any other way.

Manga Spoilers:

If I was excited for anime only viewers’ reactions to this episode then I am doubly so for the next one.
I cannot wait to see how they will react to Makima’s revival, her supernatural attack on the yakuza and Kobeni rescuing Denji.
Will they think Makima is the Gun Devil because of this, like I did, and will this be the start of them warming up to Kobeni, like it was for me?
Only time will tell.
Either way, the next episode will be another action packed one that I am very excited to see.

Chainsaw Man Episode Seven, The Taste of a Kiss Review: Worst. First Kiss. Ever.

After Episode Six, I was greatly anticipating Episode Seven of Chainsaw Man, “The Taste of a Kiss.”
Oh, it was not because I was excited to see the end of the fight between Denji and the Eternity Devil, although I was looking forward to seeing that.
No, what I was most excited about was finally seeing Himeno vomit in Denji’s mouth while kissing him… wow, that’s a sentence I never expected to be writing down.
Directed by Masato Nakazono, “The Taste of a Kiss” delivers this hilarious yet incredibly disgusting moment well, showing anime only Chainsaw Man viewers just what type of humor they can expect in this anime.
The episode begins where the previous one ended, with Denji jumping into the Eternity Devil’s mouth.
Kobeni thinks it is finally over, only for Denji to bust through with his chainsaws and begin attacking the Devil, accompanied by the music of the third Ending, “Hawatari 2 Oku-senchi” by Maximum the Hormone.
It seems like the makers of this episode realized how good of a song it was so decided to play it when Denji was decimating the Eternity Devil.
This decimation does not last long, however, because, as Power points out, Denji is losing too much blood so soon his chainsaws will retract.
We see that this is very much the case after the OP, as Denji is caught in a bloody hold by the Eternity Devil and the chainsaws in his arms do end up retracting.
However, Denji is able to bring the chainsaws back and free himself after drinking the Eternity Devil’s blood, before declaring that its scream makes its horrible blood taste like strawberry jam.
He then breaks off into a fit of maniacle laughter, sounding like a lunatic, which naturally cuts into Himeno’s following flashback of her master, Kishibe, saying that the Devil Hunters Devils fear the most are the ones with a few screws loose.
The two are at the Devil Hunter graveyard visiting the graves of Himeno’s partners, while Kishibe rants and drinks.
He says that Himeno’s partners were afraid, which made the Devils stronger, but there is no telling what a crazy person thinks, which is why the Devils fear them.
Himeno knows this does not match with her and Aki, so she is afraid for her partner’s life as he pursues the Gun Devil.
This leads to her suggesting that they take a safer job in the private sector but Aki turns her down, still determined in his mission of revenge.
Not wanting to lose Aki, Himeno decides to stay with him, but believes that if Aki manages to track down the Gun Devil then he will die because he is normal like everyone else.
We then see who exactly is not normal, as the flashback ends and we see Denji fall, supposedly defeated by the Eternity Devil, only to be revived by Himeno’s Ghost Devil, which pulls his ripcord.
Denji then has a erueka moment, realizing all he has to do is keep drinking the Eternity Devil’s blood and he can keep fighting, declaring that he has created a “perpetual motion machine.”
With this creation, he dubs the nobel prize to be his, beating Power’s idea outright.
Denji’s insane declaration causes Himeno to realize just how crazy he is, fitting into Kishibe’s explanation of a great Devil Hunter perfectly, and she beleives that Denji may actually have what it takes to eventually kill the Gun Devil.
Three days of gore later, Denji finally manages to defeat the Eternity Devil who, just as planned, offers its heart up to be destroyed by Denji, since it is in too much pain to resist anymore.
Denji destroys the heart, killing the Eternity Devil, freeing everyone from the eighth floor, and retrieving a piece of the Gun Devil’s flesh.
Some time later, Himeno suggests to Aki that they go out for drinks with everyone, partially to convince Kobeni and Arai to stay with Public Saftey, since they are thinking about leaving due to the trauma of what happened and their guilt over trying to kill Denji.
A comedic moment follows, when Aki points out that Himeno tried to kill Denji too and Himeno declares that kids these days are “so sensitive.”
Aki insists that the party will need to be this week so they can invite Makima, since she is going on a buisness trip to Kyoto soon.
This causes Himeno to bring up how suspicious it is that the Eternity Devil wanted Denji’s heart, wondering if Makima knows why.
Himeno sees the party as the perfect oppotunity to get Makima drunk so they can convince her to tell them the truth.
The scene then cuts to this party, where various humorous moments occur, such as Denji instantly forgiving a drunk Himeno for the promise of a kiss, Power boastfully exagerrating her intellgience, and Makima outdrinking everyone.
The second funniest moment of the scene is when Makima questions Denji about the kiss Himeno promised and he denies it, only to loudly confirm it when Himeno drunkily questions if the kiss is no longer happening.
It is this kiss that is the funniest moment of the scene and the entire episode.
Although, as I said, it is also its most disgusting.
As Himeno makes out with Denji, in quite a bit of animated detail by the way, Denji tastes something odd in his mouth.
At first, he thinks it is her tounge, only to realize, much to his horror, that its her vomit.
This moment becomes even more disgusting when Denji swallows the vomit because his hard life has taught him to swallow anything of nutrional value.
The disgusting nature of this infamous joke aside, I do find it kind of funny how the vomit was censored, given that the episode had absolutley no problem depciting Denji brutally tearing apart the Eternity Devil at the beginning.
As for Denji, he understandably has to do some puking of his own after his odreal, with Arai unexpectedly helping him.
Afterwards, the party ends and Denji is dragged away by a still wasted Himeno.
It would seem that the alcahol in Himeno’s vomit made Denji blackout drunk as well so he is pretty disorientated when he wakes up in Himeno’s apartment.
Himeno then stumbles into the bedroom in another moment that is exceptionally animated, for just being a character walking.
She then kisses Denji and offers to have sex with him, ending the episode and making this the second cliffhanger where a character offers Denji a sexual favour.
Overall, “The Taste of a Kiss” is another solid episode for the Chainsaw Man adaptation.
Its opening fight with the Eternity Devil is intense, the drinking scene has plenty of funny moments, and the puke scene is just as disgustingly hilarious as I remember it being in the manga, actually making me feel sick watching it.
“The Taste of a Kiss” shows anime only viewers just what kind of humor to expect going forward.
As for the next episode, well, that one shows the anime only viewers just what to expect for the story’s pacing, and in the most insane way possible.

Manga Spoilers:
There were plenty of good hints to future reveals in this episode, the first of being the Eternity Devil’s own words.
I enjoyed the foreshadowing of Pochita’s true strength when the Eternity Devil declares that Denji is weaker than before, meaning Chainsaw Man before he was turned into Pochita.
Another, more sinister hint, is Makima staring daggers at Denji being kissed by Himeno, right before the vomit reveal.
This could understandable be misinterpreted by an anime only viewer to mean that she is jealous.
However, us manga readers know that she is most likely adding Himeno to her kill list so she can destroy Denji emotionally and release Chainsaw Man.
Finally, there is Kobeni, who says she is contracted with a Devil but refuses to name it.
We still do not know what Kobeni’s devil is in the manga and I wonder if we will ever know.
The most prominant theory I have heard is that it is something akin to a Bad Luck Devil, where she brings bad luck to everyone around her while she miraculously survives everything.
If Kobeni does make a return in Part Two then I expect we might find out.
Although, given how Fujimoto just loves to destroy us all emotionally by killing off characters, maybe it’s better that Kobeni stays away and safe.

The Dragon Prince Season Four: The Mystery of Aaravos Review: More Like the Mystery of Where Aaravos is.

The Dragon Prince has been an interesting show for me.
I first started watching it because one of its creators was Aaron Ehaz, a writer from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
While the first season was a bit rocky, it still showed promise, and every season since then has been better the last.
Season Three was especially great with a lot of excellent character development and the cliffhanger it ended on was an intriguing one.
After this third season, there was a three-year-wait for the fourth one. 

We had to wait three years to see what would happen in The Dragon Prince Season Four.

During the wait, there were plenty of positive signs for the future of the series, like the announcement that there are many seasons coming down the line.
Well, after the three-year-wait, we finally have Season Four, The Mystery of Aaravos.   
Was the wait worth it?
In my opinion, unfortunately no.
Season Four is quite messy with a lot of issues, one of the big ones being how it picks up from Season Three.
Sometime in the three years since that season, a comic was released which showed how Callum (Jack DeSana) and Rayla (Paula Burrows) broke up when Rayla went looking for Viren (Jason Simpson).
If, like me, you did not read this comic before watching Season Four then good luck on understanding all of the tension in Callum and Rayla’s relationship.

I was completley lost on why we did not see Callum and Rayla break up until I learned there was a comic.

The story of The Mystery of Aaravos picks up two years after Season Three where Claudia (Raquel Belmonte) has resurrected Viren in Xadia.
With Claudia’s new boyfriend Terry (Benjamin Callins), the trio search for the location of Aaravos’ prison so they can free him and keep Viren alive, since his resurrection is limited.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Catolis, lead by King Ezran (Sasha Rojen), is preparing for the arrival of the Dragon Queen and the Dragon Prince Zym.  
However, word of Aaravos plans to escape interrupts the celebrations and sets our heroes up on their next journey.
Oh, and Amaya and Janai (Rena Anakwe) get engaged and have to deal with a whole lot of racial tension between the Sun Elves and humans.
If that last storyline sounds way too different just from my description then I have done a good job of articulating just how much this third storyline feels out of place with the other two.
Don’t get me wrong, it does have good messages and I liked the way it resolves by the end.
However, like I said, it just does not match well with either of the other stories, and the way this story begins is written ludicrously badly, in what is probably the worst scene in all of The Dragon Prince.

This scene and this character in particular are so illogically stupid that it broke my immersion.

The other two storylines are much stronger than the third, although filled with humor that is very hit or miss, and characters doing things that often don’t make sense.
Along with this, there is the whole title of the season these storylines revolve around: The Mystery of Aaravos.
If you ask me, the season really should have been called The Mysterous of Where Aaravos is because the location of Aaravos’ prison is the only mystery surrounding the character this season.
Aaravos’ identity and past is explained pretty soundly in one big exposition dump early on and the mystery of why he is doing all this is not touched upon.
Credit where it is due, though, Aaravos is definitely the best part of Season Four.
He may only have one scene but it is an excellent one, which perfectly portrays the danger he poses, with voice actor Erik Todd Dellums bringing so much menace to the character.

Aaravos remains a charasmatic antagonist, as always.

Aaravos is not the only standout, though, because Soren (Jesse Inocalla) is another.
I did not care for Soren much in the first two seasons but Season Three made him my favourite and Season Four continues this, with him having quite a few funny and heroic moments.
Anther positive trait of the season includes the animation, which is once again very good, especially in the fight scenes.
Although, there were a few animation issues, here and there, like Rayla’s tattoos going missing at one point but this was only minor.
In the end, all of the positives of Seasons Four were not enough to save it from its many negatives.
One storyline feels very out of place and has an awful inciting incident, understanding the state of Callum and Rayla’s relationship relies on reading a tie in comic, and for a season named The Mystery of Aaravos there is very little mystery actually focused on with him.
I just hope that season five will be better.