Chainsaw Man Episode Two, Arrival in Tokyo Review: Always go for the Nuts.

After the fantastic first episode of Chainsaw Man‘s anime adaptation, Mappa continue to impress with Episode Two, “Arrival in Tokyo”, directed by Tōko Yatabe.
Picking up right after Denji agrees to work for Makima after she offers him food, the episode begins with a close-up of Makima’s eye, highlightly how unusual her eyes are.
The animaton of this close-up is incredible, from the reflection of the passing countryside in Makima’s eye, to even the way she blinks.
This quality of animation is continued throughout the episode, with every little moment being so well animated.
Inside the car, Makima and Denji have a conversation, where Makima continues to compare him to a dog, saying she only wants to hear “yes” or “woof” from him because she does not need a dog who says “no”, threatening to have him “put down” if he is not useful.
This naturally freaks Denji out, or at least it does until Makima offers to pay for his food and gives him her jacket.
No one has been nice to Denji before, so this small kindness from Makima causes him to fall in love with her instantly, seemingly forgetting how she literally just threatened his life.
That is the tragic thing about Denji: He will accept being worked like a dog for the smallest of rewards because his harsh life has caused him to value those small things that most of us take for granted.
After the OP, we see Denji and Makima getting their food, where Denji explains to Makima how Pochita became his heart and Makima says there is no precedent for his condition, so it does not have a name.
Denji looks dejected about this, until Makima says she believes him because she has a strong sense of smell, allowing her to sniff out that he is part human and part devil.
This is, of course, a huge relief to Denji but he then passes out because of his exhaustion and, when he wakes up, Makima feeds him, increasing Denji’s affection for her to the point that he asks if there is a guy she likes.
Makima replies “I’m into the ‘Denji’ Type”, pretty much sealing the deal on Denji’s feelings for her.
However, what anime only viewers may not know about this scene is that there is actually a big cut from the manga.
In Chapter Two, right before Denji and Makima order food, an injured man runs up to them shouting that his daughter has been kidnapped by a devil.
Makima threatens Denji into going to rescue the girl but he finds her playing with it instead.
The girl claims that her father beats her so the devil saved her and, now scared of Makima, Denji offers to run away with the girl and the devil.
Unfortunately for him, this is a trap because the devil is the Muscle Devil and has taken control of the girl’s body.
The Muscle Devil attempts to kill Denji and the girl but Denji transforms into his devil form and kills it, returning the girl to her thankful father.
While it was unfortunate to see this moment from the manga get the axe, it is not too important in the grand scheme of the story.
Also, I think they manage to construct the opening scene of the episode just fine without it.
Making Makima threaten Denji in the beginning, instead of when she sends him to kill the Muscle Devil, does add to the theme of Denji accepting being treated like a dog, when he decides he loves Makima after she treats him well a moment later.
With this scene done, the episode cuts to Makima leading Denji through the city to the Devil Hunters’ Tokyo headquarters.
It is there that Denji is given a change of clothes and, more importantly, meets his new colleague and another fan favourite character, Aki Hayakawa (Shogo Sakata).
Denji is upset that Aki will be his colleague rather than Makima, causing Aki to drag him away, passing a painting of what I have been told is an illustration by Gustave Dore of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
In order to reassure Denji, Makima tells him they can only work togethor if he does a good job, doing up his tie.
However, it will be hard for Denji to do a good job if Aki succeeds in getting him to quit the Devil Hunters, which is exactly what he tries to do, leading Denji into an alley and then beating him up.
Aki berates Denji for only joining the Devil Hunters to get close to Makima, believing only those with strong convictions can survive as a Devil Hunter, chucking a cigarette at him and then spitting on him.
Aki underestimates Denji, however, because he attacks him from behind, kicking Aki right in the family jewels and then continues to kick saying whenever he fights, “It’s nuts or nothing!”
Denji then further proves how much Aki underestimates him because he explains he does have strong convictions in regards to living a good life, stating, “if I get to keep up this kind of life? I don’t care if it kills me.”
Aki then proves how he did not entirely have good intentions by attempting to convince him to leave the Devil Hunters, since he takes offence to Denji believing he could get with Makima, showing off his jealousy.
Aki prepares to fight Denji, yet he apparently was not listening when Denji says he fights “nuts or nothing” as he leaves said nuts undefended, leading to Denji kicking them in again.
Denji then takes Aki back to Makima, humorously claiming that the nut devil attacked his testicles.
Despite Denji and Aki clearly not getting along, Makima puts Denji in his squad.
Aki is reluctant but Makima insists, explaining Denji’s situation and that he will be disposed of as a devil if he tries to leave.
Denji asks what this means and Makima replies, “it means we’re working togethor until you die.”
Personally, I was sad to see the translation from the manga I have was not used, which is, “it means we’ll be working togethor until death do us part.”
The marriage proposal elements to that line always seemed like a good way for Makima to lure Denji in more, so I am not the biggest fan of this new translation.
Although, it is just one line so it is not too big of a deal.
Anyway, after Denji and Aki are partnered togethor, Aki takes Denji to live in his apartment.
On the way there, Denji questions if Makima is a good person, yet still wants to hug her.
Upon hearing this, Aki gives a cry of shock, which seemed much more exagerated in the anime and was thus way funnier.
Even funnier still is how Aki’s life takes a turn for the worse with Denji as a roomate.
Denji makes a mess by making a mess of a sandwich, sings loudly in the bath, and uses up all of the toilet paper.
Aki’s frustration only grows when he and Denji are sent to kill a Fiend, a devil which has taken over a dead body.
To see what Denji is capable of in his devil form, Aki orders him to transform and then kill the devil, only for Denji to simply kill it in his human form.
This angers Aki and he accuses Denji of not taking things seriously, revealing his entire family was killed by a devil right in front of his eyes.
He follows this up by questioning if Denji wants to make friends with devils and Denji responds yes because he does not have friends.
This appears to strike a cord with Aki, causing him to leave Denji alone with the dead Fiend… and a bunch of porno mags to steal.
The real reason Denji did not transform into his chainsaw form is that he did not want to get blood on the porn.
Remembering his deal with Pochita to live his dreams, Denji replies that he is living his dream but he feels something is missing.
This leads to Denji deciding what his next big, massively important goal in life is, and that is to touch boobs.
Yes, I am serious.
It is kind of funny to compare Denji to other shounen protaganists.
Some want to save the world, while others want revenge.
Hell, even Aki fits the latter type of character, yet he is not the protaganist; Denji is, and Denji just wants to touch some boobs.
So strong is this new conviction he has that it leads to him shouting about boobs in Makima’s prescence.
Again, this was an instance where I found the manga translation to be better.
In the manga, Denji shouts “melons” at Makima, rather than boobs, causing her to question, “fruit?”
This is a lot funnier than the anime version, which just has Makima repeating back what Denji says, rather than the humorous misunderstanding in the manga.
There was not much time to dwell on this small issue, however, because we then get our introduction to yet another fan favourite character, the Fiend, Power (Fairouz Ai).
Fun fact for anyone who does not know: Power’s personality is actually based off Eric Cartman from South Park. 
No, I am not kidding.
Everything about Power’s introduction is great in the anime.
The animation is excellent, Fairouz Ai’s performance is also great, and the marching band-like soundtrack suits Power’s character perfectly.
Denji is at first reluctant to work with a Fiend, until he gets a look at Power’s chest and instantly decides he’s okay with it.
The two are then sent out on their first patrol, which does not go well because they cannot find any devils.
Power claims this is because she was a devil all others feared before she became a Fiend, showing off her arrogance.
Denji believes her, however, and speculates that Aki set them up togethor to fail, imagining Aki pulling a funny face at him that is 100% a face Aki would never pull.
His inner turmoil is quickly interrupted, though, when Power smells bloods and runs off in a mad dash to attack and kill the Sea Cucumber Devil.
This is another moment I think was funnier in the manga but not due to the translation this time.
No, I think it was funnier in the manga because the focus was on the civilian Devil Hunter in the phone booth trying and failing to tell his colleague about the Sea Cucumber Devil, only to be interrupted by Power obliterating it.
In the anime, the scene passes by very quickly with not much focus on the humor of Power interrupting the man.
Still, the animation of this moment is once again great and Fairouz Ai does a fantastic job delivering Power’s maniacal laughter, which brings an end to the episode.
Overall, “Arrival in Tokyo” is another great Chainsaw Man episode.
I did have some issues with the translations and certain moments not being as funny as in the manga but, that aside, this is still an enjoyable episode with fantastic animation, music and voice acting.


Manga Spoiler Section:

Upon my second read through of Chainsaw Man, it was quite enjoyable to see how Tatsuki Fujimoto had put foreshadowing for how the manga would end in the opening chapters.
“Arrival in Tokyo” did a good job of adapting this foreshadowing, with Makima telling Denji that she has a good sense of smell, hinting at how she will eventually be defeated by him.
There is also a good amount of symbolism for Makima with the Divine Comedy painting seen when Aki drags Denji away.
The painting appears to show a demon attacking or chasing a man, probably hinting at Makima torturing Denji by taking everything he loves away, all with the end goal of relasing Pochita as Chainsaw Man.
Throughout the episode there are also nice little nods to other characters’ future actions.
One of these is small moment at the end of the episode, when Power looks at a cat she and Denji pass, foreshadowing how rescuing her cat is currently her priority, which we will see next episode.
“Arrival in Tokyo” had a lot of great character foreshadowing, which I am sure will make it an interesting rewatch for anime only viewers, once the adaptation of Part One of the manga is complete.

House of the Dragon Episode Eight, Lord of the Tides Review: Give Paddy Considine His Emmy.

Going into Episode Eight of House of the Dragon, “Lord of the Tides”, I was expecting the Geeta Vasant Patel directed episode to be a pretty standard one but nothing special.
This is why I was surprised when “Lord of the Tides” more than exceeded my expectations, becoming my favourite episode of of the show thus far.
The episode picks up six years after the events of “Driftmark.”
In that time, Corlys has returned to fighting in the Stepstones, only to suffer a potentially lethal wound, from which his life now hangs in the balance.
And so the succession to the Driftwood Throne is now in question.
Ordinarily, it would pass to Lucerys, like Corlys wanted because, even though he is a bastard, “history does not remember blood, it remembers names,” as Corlys said last episode.
However, Corlys’ brother Vaemond wants the throne to stay in the Velaryon bloodline, so he petitions the Iron Throne to hear his claim.
This would not have ended well for Vaemond had Viserys been sitting the throne but, as Vaemond points out to Rhaenys, it is Alicent who is in charge while Viserys is bedridden with his sickness.
Meanwhile, on Dragonstone, we see Daemon retrieving a clutch of eggs from Syrax for his children with Rhanerya.
These are Aegon, Viserys, and the baby soon to be born.
His subsequent meeting with the dragon keepers is quite funny, as Daemon seems like a giddy child, having retrieved the dragon eggs for his own kids.
This giddiness is dulled, however, when he recieves a letter from Baela (Bethany Antonia), whom has become a ward of Rhaenys, warning him of Vaemond’s incoming attempt to have Lucerys illegitimized so he can take the Driftwood Throne.
Upon Daemon going to inform Rhanerya of this, he finds her tutoring Jace (Harry Collett) in High Valyrian.
Rhanerya is understandably distressed by the news of Vaemond’s actions, even more so by the uncertainty of which side Rhaneys will take, due to her believing Rhanerya and Daemon had Laenor killed so they could marry.
In the end, Rhanerya and Daemon travel to King’s Landing, only to recieve a frosty reception, as only one loyal lord greets them, despite Rhanerya being the heir.
Not only this but the Targaryen iconography seen in previous episodes has been entirely replaced by ones representing the Faith of the Seven, which the Hightowers worship, showing just how far their influence has spread.
While Daemon and Rhanerya wish to continue Targaryen traditions, as seen with Rhanerya teaching Jace High Valyrian, the Hightowers seek to replace this.
Even worse is the state of Viserys, whom Rhanerya and Daemon find bedridden, with his leprocy having consumed half of his face.
Daemon’s reaction to seeing his brother like this is a particular gut punch.
The scene turns more heart warming when Rhanerya introduces her father to Aegon and Viserys.
As for why Rhanerya would also name one of her children Aegon, in the book it is most likely a slight against Alicent.
King Viserys is overjoyed to see a grandchild named after him, saying he has a name “fit for a king,” only for pain to overwhelm him, needing milk of the poppy to sooth him.
Meanwhile, Alicent has problems of her own, as Aegon (Tom Glynn-Carney) has raped a servant named Dyana.
Maddie Evans’ performance as the abused Dyana is gut wrenching and you cannot help but feel sorry for her and disgusted at Alicent’s actions, as she pays her off with gold to keep silent, gives her a tea to prevent pregnancy (which is kind of hypocritical since she judged Rhanerya for this in Episode Five) and then sends her away.
Alicent then goes to berate Aegon over what he did to Dyana, with Aegon grossly saying, “It was just harmless fun.”
When Alicent slaps Aegon and calls him “no son of mine”, Aegon throws a pity party, saying nothing he does is good enough for Alicent or Viserys.
Well, if you want your parents’ love and affection, Aegon, maybe you could start by not sexually assaulting women and be an actual decent human being for a change?
Just an idea.
The argument between Aegon and Alicent is then interrupted by Helaena (Phia Saban), who wonders where Dyana is because she was supposed to dress her children with Aegon.
Alicent then embraces Helaena, clearly regretting marrying her to Aegon.
Helaena seems like the only completley innocent character on the Green’s side, so you have to feel sorry for her being married to such a piece of work.
Afterwards, Alicent meets with Rhanerya and Daemon who both accuse her of keeping Viserys drugged up on milk of the poppy.
Alicent does make a good point, however, as she states that Viserys is in a great deal of pain without it, something we see to certainly be true.
Meanwhile, Jace and Lucerys (Elliot Grihault) are looking around the training yard when they see an older Aemond (Ewan Mitchell) training with Ser Criston Cole.
I have to say, of all the aged up actors, Mitchell is particularly great as Aemond.
He gives off the perfect feeling of menace as, after defeating Criston, he calls out to his nephews without even looking at them.
Despite only having one eye, Aemond’s senses are keen, making him quite dangerous.
Any potential confrontation between Aemond and Jace and Luke is interrupted with the arrival of Vaemond, who meets with Alicent and Otto in an attempt to convince them to support his claim, promising his loyalty in the coming Targaryen succession crisis.
Meanwhile, Rhanerya meets with Rhaneys in an attempt to persuade her to her side.
Interestingly, Rhanerya does not reveal that Laenor is alive to win Rhaenys’ support.
This shows just how deep her loyalty to Laenor goes.
As for Rhaenys, Rhanerya suggests marrying Jace to Baela and Luke to Rhaena (Phoebe Campbell), which would make Baela the future Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Rhanerya says this is a generous yet desperate offer, and Rhanerya hits back that desperation does not matter because it would still benefit Rhaenys and her grandchildren.
However, Rhaenys is correct in her next comeback that such an alliance would be worthless if the Hightowers succeed in declaring Rhanerya’s children illegitimate.
That night, Rhanerya visits her ailing father, begging him to help her, bringing up Aegon the Conqueror’s dream about the Prince that was Promised.
This is something that will have both positive and disastrous consequences.
The next morning, Vaemond makes his petition to Otto, who sits the Iron Throne in Viserys’ absence.
Things look dire for Rhanerya until, in what is the best moment of the show so far, Viserys enters the throne room and stumbles to the Iron Throne with his cane.
Much like Alicent’s entrance in the green dress during Episode Five, this epic entrance is accompanied by Ramin Djawadi’s excellent score, hyping up the bravery of this moment.
Viserys is in incredible pain, yet he still struggles to the throne to protect his daughter.
He stumbles twice, the first time refusing help and the second time accepting help from Daemon of all people.
The brothers went from at odds during the beginning of the show to reconciled near the end, and it is beautiful to watch Daemon help Viserys to the throne with gentle encouragement and then place his fallen crown upon his head.
Now upon the throne, Viserys asks to hear Rhaenys thoughts on who should inherit the Driftwood Throne, since she is the only one who would understand her husband’s wishes.
Rhaenys makes her decision, supporting Lucerys’ claim, backing Rhanerya.
However, she also plays the situation in her own favour, by announcing the betrothal between Jace and Baela, and Luke and Rhaena.
Viserys accepts this and reaffirms Lucerys claim, only for Vaemond to angrily denounce this.
Spurred on by Daemon, Vaemond goes on to call Jace and Lucerys bastards but goes a step even further, calling Rhanerya a whore.
And the Darwin Award goes to… Vaemond Velaryon for stupidly calling the heir to the Iron Throne a whore, somehow thinking this would not get him executed!
To Vaemond’s credit, he may have known this would get him killed but he decided to die getting the truth of Rhanerya’s children’s parentage out into the open once and for all.
In the end, his death is pretty quick and brutal, with Daemon cutting half his head off right after Viserys demands his tongue, stating, “he can keep his tongue.”
The reaction to this from the Hightowers are priceless, with all of them being horrified, except for Aemond who appears to be quite impressed with his uncle/brother-in law… man, Targaryen family trees are weird.
That night, after recovering somewhat, Viserys orders a dinner to take place with his family in the hopes of reconciling the two factions.
His speech is heart breaking and it seems to get through to Rhanerya and Alicent in particular who both raise their cups to one another.
Alicent even says that Rhanerya would make a good queen, seemingly accepting her rise to the throne following her own son’s terrible actions.
Aegon attempts to provoke Jace by making a sexual advance on Baela but Jace plays this off, being the better person.
This all prompts Helaena to make her own toast, encouraging Baela and Rhaena in their marriages.
“It’s not so bad,” she says. “Mostly he just ignores you, except when he’s drunk.”
Helaena is just too pure for the terrible world of Westeros.
Her toast leads to Jace dancing with her afterwards, in what is both a noble attempt to cheer her up and also to get back at Aegon for his pot stirring.
Much celebration follows, with the two sides seemingly getting along and Viserys heart is clearly warmed at the sight, as he clearly thinks his family has reconciled.
So, of course, as soon as Viserys departs, due to the pain he feels, fighting breaks out.
A pig is placed in front of Aemond and this clearly reminds both him and Lucerys of “the pink dread” prank he, Jace and Aegon played on Aemond when they were younger.
Lucerys tries not to laugh at the memory.
It was really not a good plan to provoke the guy whose eye you cut out and now definitley has a grudge against you, Lucerys.
This is proven when Aemond makes his own toast to his nephew’s health, calling them “Strong” in a clear reference to their true father.
Jace punches Aemond in retalitation but Daemon steps in before a brawl can break out and someone else loses an eye.
As Jace and Luke go to their rooms, Aemond and Daemon face off silently, before Aemond relents and leaves.
Alicent and Rhanerya then reconcile further, with Rhanerya saying she will return to visit “on dragon back.”
After Rhanerya and her family leave, Alicent puts Viserys to bed, giving him milk of the poppy again for the pain.
Unfortunately, this has the worst of consequences, as it causes Viserys to hallucinate, thinking that Alicent is Rhanerya from the night before, asking about the Prince that was Promised.
Viserys response causes Alicent to think that he is saying Aegon should be king over Rhanerya, when he is actually saying Rhanerya is the heir who will continue Aegon the Conqueror’s line.
I have made it clear that I have disliked the inclusion of the whole Prince that was Promised plotline, given that it never amounted to anything in Game of Thrones.
However, I think this was the perfect usage of it, with this natural misunderstanding between Alicent and Viserys leading to the Dance of the Dragons.
If this misunderstanding never happened then Alicent very may well have supported Rhanerya’s claim over Aegon’s, following Viserys’ death.
And because Viserys dies he can never clear up the misunderstanding that just happened.
Viserys passes alone, in his bed, seeing his dear Aemma in his final moments.
“My love,” he whispers, as he breaths his last breath.
So dies King Viserys Targaryen, the First of his Name, King of the Andals, and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
With Viserys’ time on the show now at an end, I am now going to say what many people have been saying since this episode aired… Give Paddy Considine his Emmy!
Seriously, the guy gives an incredible performance as Viserys, turning the bland character from the book into one of the most tragic characters in the show.
If he is not at least nominated for this role then I do not what the world is coming to.
Viserys’ storyline alone makes “Lord of the Tides” my favourite episode of House of the Dragon thus far.
It is a fantastic episode, which serves as a great goodbye to Viserys and is the final calm before the storm.
And now the dragons dance.

Book Spoiler Section:
Once again for the book spoiler section, I will begin by attempting to guess what Helaena’s prophecy means.
“Beware the beast beneath the boards,” is what Helaena murmers at the dinner party.
I think this is a reference to Blood and Cheese, the tragic event in the Dance of the Dragons, where assassins are sent to kill one of Helaena’s children in retaliation for Luke’s death.
It will certainly be a horrifying moment in the show when this happens in Season Two, considering how sweet Helaena is.
“Lord of the Tides” also has a lot of great foreshadowing for the future of the show.
There is Rhanerya saying she will return “on dragon back”, which she does when she takes King’s Landing during the Dance.
There is Aemond and Daemon’s brief stand off, hinting at their final fight above the God’s Eye.
We see Mysaria has a servant of Alicent as an informer, foreshadowing her future role as a Mistress of Whisperers.
Then, there is Viserys comment about his grandson having a name “fit for a king,” which Viserys the younger will eventually become.
Although, this is decades down the line, so we likely will not see it in the show.
The next book spoiler I wish to discuss is actually not related to the episode itself.
This spoiler concerns the character of Daeron.
In the book, he is Alicent and Visery’s fourth child who has a key role to play in the Dance. However, he has been completley absent in the show.
Many have speculated that he is squiring in Old Town and George R.R Martin has seemingly confirmed Daeron’s existence in the show.
However, him not even being mentioned previously will make it quite strange for show only viewers to meet him in the following seasons.
I just hope he is introduced right and in a way that feels natural, despite him not being mentioned.

House of the Dragon Episode Seven, Driftmark Review: Eye for an Eye.

I was quite excited going into Episode Seven of House of the Dragon, “Driftmark.”
This was because the Miguel Sapochnik directed episode would adapt an event I had been looking forward to seeing ever since the show was announced, this being Aemond claiming Vhagar and then losing his eye.
The end result did not disappoint, with “Driftmark” being my favourite episode, until it was unexpectedly overtaken by Episode Eight, “Lord of the Tides.”
As for Episode Seven, it entirely resolves around the titular “Driftmark”, beginning with Laena’s funeral, after she died by Vhagar last episode, choosing to die as a dragon rider, rather than being ripped open in a medieval c-section.
However, this being Westeros, even a funeral is not safe from political manuvering, as Corlys’ brother, Vaemond Velaryon is clearly unhappy about Lucerys being set to inherit Driftmark, due to him being a bastard.
This leads to him insulting Lucerys, Jacaerys and Rhanerya by subtly calling them out in his funeral speech.
The insults do not go unnoticed, causing Daemon to laugh, potentially because of his incredulity at this happening at his own wife’s funeral; also potentially to draw attention away from Rhanerya and her sons to protect them.
Again, I love the ambiguity the show is painting Daemon’s actions with.
There are multiple different ways you could interpret his decisions over the course of the show so far.
Following the funeral comes a pretty awkward wake for Laena, as the green and black factions all interact, with various disdainful looks being thrown about.
Jacaerys clearly does not understand the severity of the situation, as he complains to Rhanerya about wanting to be at Harrenhal, mourning Lyonel and Harwin, whom he now knows was his true father.
Rhanerya’s concerned look to make sure no one heard Jace talking is well played by Emma D’Arcy.
While the tension is clearly growing at the wake, Helaena remains oblivious to it all; content to play with her bugs and spin prophecies.
“Spools of green, spools of black,” she murmmers. “Dragons of flesh weaving dragons of thread. Hand turns loom, spools of green.”
It is pretty obvious after this episode and Episode Eight that Helaena is a dreamer and I will get into what this specific prophecy may mean in the book spoiler section below.
As Helaena is murmmering her prophecy, she is looked over by Aegon and Aemond.
Aegon has been bethrothed to his sister but is clearly not happy about this,
Aemond, on the other hand, says he would gladly marry his sister.
Targaryens gonna Targaryen I guess.
Aemond does have quite an intriguing moment later on, however; when he walks over to Jace and looks like he might be about to console him over his own loss, only to walk away without saying a word.
This is yet another moment where we can only speculate about whether things could have turned out for the better, if only a different decision had been made by these characters.
While Jace is interacting with Aemond, and also comforting Baela and Rhaena, Lucerys is lectured about inheriting Driftmark by Corlys, only for him to say, “I don’t want it.”
This, I am sure, triggered many PTSD flashbacks for Game of Thrones fans, as they remembered Jon Snow’s most overplayed sentence from Season Eight.
Thankfully, the line that follows this is much more impactful, with Lucerys stating, “If I’m the Lord of Driftmark, that means everyone’s dead.”
More tragic shots follow, including Laenor sitting in the tide, mourning the loss of his sister, prompting Corlys to demand Qarl retrieve him.
Probably the most interesting interactions of the wake, however, are those of Viserys.
First, he tries to convince Daemon to come back to Kings Landing and reconcile, only for Daemon to outright refuse.
In another subtle moment, Daemon appears to almost say he needs Rhanerya before catching himself.
Viserys then goes to bed for the night, informing Alicent but accidentally calling her Aemma, showing just how much he is slipping.
The final shots of the wake see Aemond looking up at the sky as Vhagar flies overhead, foreshadowing what is to come.
That night, Rhanerya meets with Daemon and the two walk on the beach, discussing the loss of their loves, Laena and Harwin.
Daemon is also shown to heavily suspect Otto (whom has since returned as Hand of the King), along with Alicent, of orchestrating the murder of Lyonel and Harwin.
Rhanerya, however, speaks up for Alicent because she does not beleive her to be capable of murder.
In a sense, both are kind of right.
Daemon is right to suspect Otto of benefitting from Lyonel’s death and Rhanerya is right in so far as that Alicent did not actually order Lyonel’s death, rather it was orchestrated by Larys, with Alicent unwittingly playing a part.
Regardless of their disagreements of the Hightower’s involvement in Lyonel and Harwin’s deaths, Rhanerya and Daemon reconcile and sleep togethor.
Targaryens gonna Targaryen, right?
Well, for those of you especially creeped out by the incest in the show, no need to worry because it is so dark you probably will not see anything.
Seriously, the colour grading for these night scenes is quite bad at times.
I had to to turn off every light in the house and squint at times just to see what was happening.
It is a shame too because the night scene where Aemond claims Vhagar as his dragon is excellent.
This episode really showed just how massive Vhagar is, making Aemond’s taming of her even more epic, as he calms her with the valyrian language, climbs into her saddle and then orders her to fly, nearly dying on multiple occasions.
The massive dragon nearly shakes him off and Aemond nearly falls to his death on the ascent, yet he still succeeds in claming Vhagar, or stealing if you ask Baela and Rhaena.
I have seen a lot of debate online about whether Aemond taming Vhagar counts as stealing or not.
Rhaena was supposed to claim her, yet because she was mourning her mother she did not.
This lead to Aemond taking his opportunity and claiming Vhagar before Rhaena could.
Is this in poor taste?
Definitley.
But I would draw the line at saying it’s stealing, since Vhagar did choose Aemond as her new rider.
Rhaena and Baela’s anger is certainly understandable, though, and it is a much better reason for the fight happening, rather than Aemond throwing Joffrey into dragon poop, which is what happened in the book.
What is less understandable is Aemond insulting them all after claiming Vhagar, stating maybe Jace and Luke can find Rhaena a pig to ride.
This insult definitley stems from the bullying Aemond suffered from in the previous episode, directing his anger at Jace and Lucerys.
Unfortunately, this leads to the conflict escalating into a full on brawl, resulting in the best fight in House of the Dragon so far, and it is a fight between literal children.
Again, we have to think of that moment when Aemond almost comforted Jace back a the wake.
If either of them had spoken up, would they have ended up in such a violent showdown?
We will never know.
Instead, the resenment grows into bloodshed as, after threatening Jace with a rock, Aemond gets his eye cut out by Lucerys, before the Kingsguard finally show up to intervene.
Upon hearing of the fight, Viserys is understandably outraged, berating Ser Harold Westerling and Ser Criston.
It is here that we see the difference in standards among the Kingsguard.
While Ser Harold accepts responsibiltiy and apologises, Ser Criston attempts to redirect blame onto Rhanerya’s sons.
Tensions rise when Rhanerya enters the room, with Daemon just observing.
Viserys is focused on learning what happened, until Rhanerya reveals Aemond called her sons bastards.
Viserys then focuses on this, rather than his own son losing an eye.
This is most likely because of his love for Rhanerya but also because he knows that if Jace, Luke and Joffrey are considered bastards by the realm then it could plunge Westeros into war.
So, Viserys focuses on this instead of Aemond, likely increasing his own son’s hatred for his nephews.
In the end, Aemond blames Aegon instead of his mother for spreading the bastard rumor.
Aegon’s following response to Viserys when he questions where he heard this, “everyone knows, just look at them,” is a great line adapted from the book.
Viserys’ following frustration about the infighting in his family is palpable, with Paddy Considine giving another fantastic performance.
Alicent is understandably unmoved by Viserys order that everyone should make ammends.
She is angered by Aemond losing an eye, leading her to demand an eye for an eye from Lucerys.
When Viserys refuses, she steals the catspaw dagger from him and lunges at Rhanerya and her children, a moment that had been especially hyped up in the trailers and does not disappoint, with both calling the other out, leading to Alicent slashing Rhanerya’s arm.
Afterwards, the tension is finally calmed when Aemond reassures Alicent with another excellent line from the book, “I may have lost an eye but I gained a dragon.”
It really would have been better if you said that before Alicent tried to stab the heir to the throne, Aemond.
On another note, I would like to praise Leo Ashton for his role as Aemond this episode.
He was the best of the child actors this episode and perfomed the claiming of Vhagar scene especially well.
As for Alicent, she is confronted by Otto in her chambers and, for the first time, he seems to be proud of her, saying he now sees that she has “the determination to win” the “ugly game” they play.
Alicent takes her father’s support to heart by also embracing Larys’ support on the ship back to Kings’ Landing, further cementing an alliance with a powerful and dangerous ally.
Rhanerya is also cementing more allies, with Laenor committing to helping as her husband in a touching scene between the two.
This is despite the fact that we can see how conflicted Laenor is about the direction in his life.
The second ally Rhanerya gains is Daemon, offering marriage to him, to which Daemon says Laenor would have to die.
I will admit, I was completley fooled when it looked like Daemon hired Qarl to kill Laenor.
I thought Rhanerya had turned down a dark path and helped orchestrate the death of Laenor, and I was quite unsure about it, considering how much Rhanerya had seemed to care greatly for Laenor beforehand.
This is why it was a relief to see that Laenor’s death had been staged, allowing him and Qarl to row off into the sunset togethor.
Laenor did the smart thing getting out of the Game of Thrones.
He will live much longer that way.
Shame about the random guard whose body was used as a stand in for him, though.
Laenor living is an interesting change from the book and I wonder how if it will play into the future of the story?
There is a theory about Laenor’s future role going around but it is one I do not particularly like.
I will have to mention book spoilers, though, so I will explain what the theory is in in the section below.
As for Daemon and Rhanerya, they are finally able to marry, in a scene that is actually kind of funny when you see the disgusted faces of their children, Rhaena and Baela in particular.
I also wish we could have seen Viserys reaction, since he was so against any union between Rhanerya and Daemon in Episodes Four and Five.
All in all, “Driftmark” is one of the best episode of House of the Dragon so far.
It more than delivered on the Vhagar and Aemond storyline I have been waiting to see play out ever since I read “Fire and Blood.”


Book Spoilers Section:

Regarding Helaena’s prophecy this episode, I think it is a clear reference to the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons.
“Spools of green, spools of black; dragons of flesh weaving dragons of threads,” references the division between the blacks and the greens, leading to the Dance.
“Hand turns loom, spools of green,” references Otto’s work in the coup to put Aegon on the throne, and the greens in power, following Viserys’ death.
With my speculation for Helaena’s prophecy out of the way, I can now talk about the theory concerning Laenor’s survival.
This theory states that in Season Two of House of the Dragon, he will take on the role of Addam of Hull, the dragon seed who joins Rhanerya’s cause.
The theory is that Laenor will pose as his own bastard to come back and help Rhanerya, taking on the name Addam.
Personally, I am very much against this theory.
If Laenor is Addam, it would ruin Addam’s entire arc about proving the worth of bastards.
Rhanerya suspects him after Hugh Hammer and Ulf the White’s betrayal, something Rhanerya would never consider of Laenor.
Addam then flees to avoid arrest, only to rally Rhanerya’s supporters in an attempt to take back Tumbleton, dying in the fighting.
Having proven his worth, his brother Alyn then has the words “loyal” carved into Addam’s tombstone.
Laenor just does not fit into this storyline because he is not a bastard and he does not even have a brother to pose as Alyn.
Just keep Laenor and Alyn as seperate characters please.

Chainsaw Man Chapter 106, Bonfire Review: War vs Justice.

Coinciding with the first episode of the Chainsaw Man anime, Tatsuki Fujimoto released Chapter 106, “Bonfire.”
It is a much shorter chapter than the prior ones in Part Two but that does not make it any less significant, building up to a fight between Yoru and the Justice Devil at Asa’s school.
“Bonfire” begins by detailing the fallout between Asa and Yoru, following Yuko revealing that she made a deal with the Justice Devil and now plans to kill all of Asa’s bullies.
Asa wants to talk Yuko out of it but Yuko attacking the school plays right into Yoru’s plan to draw out Chainsaw Man, so she takes over Asa’s body to make sure the attack happens.
So much for them seemingly coming to an agreement in Chapter 101.
Yoru’s other reasons for taking over Asa’s body is to silence Yuko about her, and also that killing a Devil will get her and Asa into the Devil Hunting club, thus getting them closer to Chainsaw Man, or so they think.
Either way, Asa has no say in the matter, as Yoru plans to stay in control until Yuko is dead.
Speaking of Yuko, we then see her burning the body of her neighbour in her backyard, promising to kill all of Asa’s bullies.
Her wording, “I’ll kill all the bad guys for you, just like Chainsaw Man” appears to be Fujimoto showcasing some of the negative effects of Denji’s actions, such as Yuko sees herself as like him by murdering those bullying Asa.
The next day, Yuko journeys to school, only to be confronted in the hallway by Yoru with a sword.
Using the Justice Devil’s power to read her mind, Yuko realizes it is Yoru she is talking to and that Chainsaw Man goes to their school.
As she reflects on her disappointment about this, we get a curious panel, where the speech bubbles are shown behind a window, partially blocked but not to the point that we cannot read what is being said.
Perhaps this is Fujimoto showing how the sound of their conversation is muffled elsewhere.
Or maybe they are being observed?
Perhaps by Yoshida?
In any case, Yuko asks Yoru to step aside, saying they can fight after she kills the bullies but Yoru refuses, knowing Yuko will run after this to escape the Devil Hunters.
Yuko then tells Yoru that she cannot beat her because she can read her mind.
Although this does raise the question of how Yoru managed to defeat the Justice Devil back when it controlled the Class President in Chapter 98, it does lead to a smart moment from Yoru, where she uses Asa as a hostage, saying if Yuko kills her then she will be killing Asa as well.
This angers Yuko, causing her to say that she likes Asa but hates Yoru, before transforming into the Justice Devil, bringing this short chapter to a close, with the cliffhanger teasing the rematch between the War and the Justice Devil.
One thing that is interesting to note about the Justice Devil, though, is that its design has changed.
Back in my review for Chapter 98, I criticized its design, stating that its form did not seem to resemble the fear it was based off, like all the other devils.
Well, this issue I had is fixed with this chapter, as the Justice Devil now has a form that kind of looks like a monstrous version of Lady Justice, to me.
I do wonder why the Justice Devil changed forms between its hosts?
I have heard a theory that it is because Yuko has a keener sense of justice than the Class President, so maybe that is it?
Either way, the fight between Yoru and Yuko should be interesting.
It could lead to Yoshida stepping in or even Denji revealing himself as Chainsaw Man.
As for Yoru and Asa, they actually have an advantage against the Justice Devil.
Because Asa considers Yuko a friend, this means Yoru can transform her into a weapon, although I am sure Asa will try to stop this.
Yuko is probably going to end up biting the dust, though.
If this does happen, it sure will sure have been an unexpected way for her to go.
When Yuko was first introduced, we all thought that when she died it would be in a way to motivate Asa, not as an antagonist.
It just goes to show how inventive Fujimoto is as a writer.
All in all, “Bonfire” is another good Chainsaw Man chapter.
It is a short one but this has an upside because it means we will be getting Chapter 107 next week, rather than two weeks for now.
I am intrigued to see how the fight between Yoru and Yuko will play out.

Chainsaw Man Episode One, Dog & Chainsaw Review: Simple Dreams in a Horrifying World.

After well over a year of anticipation and hype, Mappa just released its first episode of the Chainsaw Man adaptation, “Dog & Chainsaw”, directed by Ryū Nakayama.
If anyone had any doubts about whether this anime would live up to expectations, I am certain that this episode blew any skepticism clear out of the water.
“Dog & Chainsaw” is a phenominal beginning for the anime, delivering excellently on all fronts, including animation, voice acting and soundtrack.
The episode begins with an anime original scene of our main characte Denji (Kikunosuke Toya) having a nightmare about approaching a strange door in an alleyway.
As a manga reader, I know what this dream means but I will leave that for the spoiler section below, just in case any anime only viewers happen to stumble across this review.
After waking up, Denji goes Devil hunting with his own pet Devil, Pochita (Shiori Izawa), an orange, dog-like creature with a chainsaw attatched to its head.
Denji lives in a world where Devils representing human fears plague humanity.
Unfortunately, Denji is dirt poor because his father killed himself after becoming indebted to the Yakuza.
Now, Denji has to pay off all of his father’s debt or be murdered, which lead to him selling one of his eyes, kidney, and even one of his testicles.
What gets him the most profit, however, is Devil hunting, as we see him prepare to use Pochita to take out the Tomato Devil,, before the episode cuts to the opening “Kick Back” by Kenshi Yozenu.
This opening is a lot of fun, with a great song and visuals which I will discuss the meaning of in the manga spoiler section.
After the opening, we see the aftermath of Denji and Pochita’s fight with the Tomato Devil, handing the corpse off to the Yakuza Boss who kindly gives Denji his payment… before ripping him off by taking most of his hard earned money for petty things like a “finder’s fee.”
On top of this, another Yakuza member mistreats Denji further, by offering him money if he eats a cigarette to which, desperate for money as he is, Denji accepts.
He does prove his intelligence, however, by not swallowing the cigarette so he can spit it out when the Yakuza leave.
Returning to the shed in the forest he calls home, we see how much worse Denji’s life is since, because of the Yakuza’s extortion, he can only afford to buy a single piece of bread for him and Pochia to eat.
This harsh life has caused Denji to view simple dreams, like going out on a date with a girl, to be akin to life changing ones; a key component of his character, which will be explored in later episodes.
None of this exploration would have happened without Pochita, however, as we see how he saved Denji’s life in a flashback.
After Denji’s father died, the Yakuza boss demanded money from him to be ready the next day, threatening to cut him up and sell his organs if he fails.
It was at this hopeless moment when Denji met Pochita and accepted his death by a Devil, only to see that Pochita was injured.
Remembering his own father’s suicide, Denji decides to save Pochita by offering his blood, making a contract with the little Devil and starting his Devil hunting career.
Following this flashback, Denji reminisces more on his simple dreams, before coughing up blood, leading to him remembering being told that his mother died from a heart condition, which caused her to cough up blood.
So, on top of the crushing poverty and extortion by the Yakuza, Denji then realizes he probably does not have long to live, meaning the simple dreams he lives for can never be achieved.
The poor guy just can not catch a break.
This is proven when the Yakuza boss takes him to kill another Devil, only for it to be a trap.
The Yakuza boss and his underlings stupidly made a contract with the Zombie Devil to obtain a Devil’s power like Denji did.
All this did was turn them all into the undead, now completley under the control of the Zombie Devil, who wants to kill Denji and Pochita for being Devil Hunters.
What follows is the brutal murder of the two, as they are struck from behind, chased down, stabbed to death, cut into pieces and thrown into a dumpster.
Kikunosuke Toya gives an excellent performance during this scene, with his agonised screams adding to the horror.
And so Denji’s short and cruel life ends cruely, or, at least, it would have if it were not for Pochita again.
Revived by Denji’s blood, he makes a contract with Denji, “I’ll give you my heart. And in exchange, I want you to show me your dreams.”
Now revived, Denji emerges from the dumpster, the only remaining remnant of Pochita being a cord now attatched to his chest.
Upon noticing his revival, the Zombie Devil orders his zombie slaves to eat Denji, and they tackle him to the ground as he pulls the cord.
The sound of the groaning undead is slowly overtaken by the sound of a revving chainsaw.
With a gory slash, Denji emerges from beneath the hoard, his face now that of a monstrous chainsaw, along with his hands.
The gore galore promised by the trailer then comences, as Denji quickly cuts the screaming Zombie Devil apart in bloody and spectacularly animated fashion.
Denji’s chainsaws are clearly CGI but they are the good kind, mixing well with the 2D animation.
After the Zombie Devil has been brutally despatched, Denji moves onto the zombified Yakuza, including his former boss, killing them all and washing his debt away in a river of blood.
Some time later, the government Devil Hunters arrive, lead by a woman named Makima (Tomori Kusunoki).
They find Denji inside the warehouse, surrounded by the dead zombies.
In a daze, Denji asks Makima to hug him, clearly remembering his old dream, and Makima accepts this requet, causing Denji to return to his human form.
Makima then gives him two options.
Either, A, he can be killed by her as a devil, or B, Makima can keep him as a human, offering to feed him.
This prompts Denji to ask what he will have for breakfast and Makima replies simple things like, “bread with butter and jam, salad, coffee, and then maybe something for desert.”
Well, as we know, simple dreams like breakfast are big ones for Denji, so Makima is really offering to fulfill one of his dearest wishes, leading to him accepting the offer, as the episode comes to an end.
Throughout this scene, the soundtrack by Keunsuke Ushio presents a melancholic feeling that represents the hope Denji is feeling in this moment really well.
I just knew that the composer for anime like A Silent Voice would do a great job with the soundtrack for Chainsaw Man.
I look forward to hearing the rest of his work, just as I look forward to seeing the rest of th3 ending songw we get.
Mappa took an interesting approach to the Chainsaw Man’s episode endings, as each one will have a different song, with Episode One’s being “Chainsaw Blood” by Vaundy, which is another banger, just like the opening.
All of the music, from the opening and ending song, to Ushio’s soundtrack, are amazing.
Along with this, the animation of the episode is great throughout, with plenty of little details throughout, like the veins in some character’s eyes.
Finally, there is the voice acting, which is so far also really good.
Watching the trailer, I was admittedly surprised to hear Tomori Kusunkoki’s soft voice as Makima but I think it works perfectly after this episode by making the character perfectly alluring.
“Dog & Chainsaw” is an all around fantastic first episode for the Chainsaw Man adaptation.
Studio Mappa is clearly dedicated to giving the manga the best adaptation that it can and I cannot wait to see the rest of my new favourite manga be adapted in anime form.


Manga Spoiler Section:

The first thing I will talk about concerning manga spoilers is the anime original scene of Denji having a nightmare about the door.
This early foreshadowing will work wonders, setting up the reveal that Denji killed his own father, which will come later in the story.
Placing the dream right at the beginning puts the mystery of the door firmly in the audience’s mind from the start, which is a good thing.
Now, for my thoughts on the opening’s foreshadowing.
For starters, one of my favourite moments from it was the moment with the entire gang sitting in a movie theatre.
It felt like it was hinting at Chapter 39, where Denji and Makima go to the movies.
Not only that but this moment in the opening also hints at what the character dynamics will be like in the future of the anime.
We see Makima feeding Denji popcorn, hinting at her control over him, Power stealing Kobeni’s seat, and Aki being the only one of the group to be focusing on the movie.
The opening having a moment in the theatre is also perfect for Chainsaw Man, considering how much of a movie fan Tatsuki Fujimoto is.
This fact can be seen throughout the opening, with various other moments refrencing popular films, with shots resembling those found in Pulp Fiction, The Big Lebowski, and many other films, being present.
After the movie theater moment in the opening, we then get various little hints to Makima’s hold over Denji, some subtle and others not.
Probably the most unsubtle of all is Makima having Denji on a dog leash.
More subtle is the moment when Makima feeds Denji a snail, which, I am told, looks to be infected by a parasite which controls its brain, further hinting at her attempting to manipulate Denji.
Other cool little teasers in the opening show glimpses of the Future Devil, Ghost Devil and Katanna Man, along with hints at Aki and Power’s pasts.
The opening then ends by showing the family dynamic that will emerge between Denji, Power and Aki, with Denji and Power goofing around dancing, while Aki watches.
This opening was great and its hints towards future events from the manga were fun to catch.
As for the original anime only scene, I wonder if there will be any more throughout the anime?
It will be interesting to see what gets added across Chainsaw Man‘s adaptation.

House of the Dragon Episode Six, The Princess and the Queen Review: The Clubfoot Strikes.

I was quite excited for Episode Six of House of the Dragon “The Princess and the Queen” because it would give us our first look at the new actors for Rhanerya and Alicent, Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke.
After watching the episode, I can definitley say that the two live up to Milly Alcock and Emily Carey’s performances, and I am looking forward to seeing more of them.
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, “The Princess and the Queen” is the best directed episode of the series so far, in my opinion, beginning with some terrific long takes as a now older Rhanerya gives birth to her third son, Joffrey, named after Laenor’s lover.
D’Arcy does a great job showing Rhanerya’s pain during the birth and her instant love for her child, yet this joy is halted when a midwife tells Rhanerya that Alicent wishes to see the child immediately.
Rather than allow them to take her child, Rhanerya decides to stand up to Alicent by taking the baby to her, instead of resting.
An older Laenor (John Macmillan) arrives and is disgusted by Alicent’s actions, helping Rhanerya to see her, yet things have obviously grown cold between them, recently.
They meet with Alicent and it is then that the viewers receive what may be the biggest shock of the episode… which is Viserys still being alive.
Kidding aside, it is funny how so many viewers were surprised that Viserys still lived.
The King looks even worse than he did ten years ago and he is now missing an arm, although he is overjoyed to have a new grandson.
What is less joyous is Alicent immediately picking up on the fact that the child is clearly not Laenor’s because he has none of the Velaryon features, as she cruely tells Laenor, “Soon or late, you may get one that looks like you.”
The actual father of the child is Harwin Strong, who Rhanerya and Laenor leave to see, along with Rhanerya’s two other children with Harwin, Jacareys (Leo Hart) and Lucerys (Harvey Sadler), leaving a trail of blood as she does so, highlighting Alicent’s cruelty.
As for Rhanerya and Harwin, all we really get of the couple is a few brief looks between the two and loving exchanges.
I wish we could have got more but Harwin dies at the end of the episode.
In all honesty, I kind of like the subtle way their relationship is handled.
It is really not all that important to the overall story, except for Rhanerya’s children being bastards, so it makes sense for it not really being featured much in the show much.
Despite the short amount of time, I still think we got enough to make it work.
After the brief moment between them, the scene cuts to Jacaerys and Lucerys going to the Dragon Pit with Aegon (Ty Tennant) and Alicent’s other son Aemond (Leo Ashton) to train Jacaerys dragon, Vermax.
Jacaerys does well in training Vermax but then he, Lucerys and Aegon make fun of Aemond for not having a dragon, gifting him a pig to use they dub “the Pink Dread.”
This prompts Aemond to enter the Dragon Pit to try and claim a dragon of his own, only to be met with the dragon Dreamfyre, who is actually the mother of Daenerys’ dragons.
Her flames drive the boy away.
We then meet Alicent’s only daughter Helena (Evie Allen) who seems to be a bit of a bug collector.
On that note, I would like to praise the portrayal of Alicent’s children in this episode.
We did not get much of a sense of their personalities during their earlier years in Fire and Blood, especially with Helena, and I like what this episode did with them.
Upon learning what Jacaerys and Lucerys did to Aemond, Alicent goes to Viserys about it, using this as an excuse to bring up the boys’ obvious parentage.
Viserys is still in denial, however, bringing up a story about how a silver stallion he once had gave birth to a chesnut foul.
His denial is understandable since if the truth came out it would end badly for his daughter and grandchildren.
Alicent is frustrated by this, venting to Criston Cole about it, who goes on his own rant about Rhanerya, calling her “a spider who skins and sucks her prey dry” and a “spoiled c***.”
Criston’s feelings for Rhanerya have clearly grown into outright hatred, yet even Alicent thinks his statements go too far, saying that she hopes honour and decency will prevail.
Therefore, the shot perfectly cuts to Aegon masterbating in the window looking over King’s Landing, Homelander style, showing exactly how hypocritical Alicent’s claims of “honour and decency” are, considering how she seeks to make the perverted Aegon king.
Alicent arrives and admonishes him for making fun of Aemond, strangely ignoring the fact that she just caught her son masterbating in a dangerous position.
Her attempts to raise Aegon to rule have clearly failed, as he would rather not challenge Rhanerya, causing Alicent to grab him and shout that he is the challenge.
Meanwhile, we finally see what Daemon has been up to these past ten years.
He is revealed to have married Laena (Nanna Blondell) and had two daughters with her, Bela (Shani Smethurst) and Rhaena (Eva Ossei-Gerning), and the four of them are visiting Pentos.
Laena has also claimed the largest and oldest of the dragons, Vhagar.
I and many other book readers had been anticipating seeing her and she did not disappoint, being absolutley massive and covered in scars from various battles.
In Pentos, the prince offers them a home, so their prescence can ward off the recently reemerged triarchy.
Daemon seems to consider this idea, appearing much more laid back to Westerosi politics than he was ten years ago.
Laena is reluctant, however, wanting to eventually die a dragon rider’s death.
Back in King’s Landing, we see Criston orchestrate a confrontation between himself and Harwin to further spread the rumors of him being the father to Rhanerya’s sons.
He does this during a training session, deliberately putting the boys in a fighting situation in which Harwin has to step in, prompting him to say Harwin treats the boys like his sons.
Just as Criston expected, this leads to Harwin attacking him, spreading the rumors and ultimately resulting in his banishment from King’s Landing.
Unfortunately, this has the unintended side effect of having Criston getting away with murdering Joffrey last episode make even less sense.
Hearing of the assault, Rhanerya goes to see Harwin, only to overhear an argument between him and Lyonel, stoking her fears of what may happen to her and Harwin’s sons if the rumors are confirmed as fact.
Laenor certainly does not help matters, as he arrives in her room with his latest lover, Qarl Correy (Arty Froushan).
The two argue, with Laenor wanting to go out and fight the triarchy again, ending with Rhanerya ordering him to stay.
Rhanerya’s desperation is also seen when she offers a marriage between Jacaerys and Helaena to Alicent at the next Small Council meeting.
Although desperate, this is quite the smart call from Rhanerya, and Alicent too would have been wise to accept it.
Marrying the two would extend protection to Helaena and Alicent’s other children, which is a priority for Alicent.
It would also mean Helaena becomes queen if Alicent’s plan to make Aegon king fall through.
Unfortunately, Alicent is too prideful to accept this deal, refusing it, and Viserys is too complacent to argue.
Before the two can talk further, Lyonel arrives to resign as Hand of the King because of Harwin’s actions but Viserys will not allow it unless Lyonel says why.
Lyonel is reluctant, since this would mean admitting that Harwin fathered Rhanerya’s children, spelling disaster for his house.
Unable to resign, Lyonel instead asks to take Harwin back to Harrenhal, which Viserys concedes.
Alicent is angered by this, meeting with Larys to rant to him, even admitting her own bias, wanting Otto back because “he would be partial to me.”
Larys interprets this as permission to recruit death row prisoners, remove their tounges to keep them from talking, and then send them to kill his father and brother.
The fire at Harrenhal was another mystery in the book that I think the show answered well, with Larys ordering it and Alicent accidentally implicating herself.
One change from the book is Laena’s fate.
Rather than die of a fever after a stillborn birth, she instead suffers a similar fate to Aemma, as the baby will not emerge.
Faced with the choice of dying by C-Section or dying like a dragon rider, Laena chooses the latter, going to Vhagar and shouting, “Dracarys!”
Vhagar appears reluctant but, in the end, honours her rider’s wish, burning Laena to death, while Daemon looks on in horror.
Back at King’s Landing, Rhanerya decides to go to Dragonstone as the heir, bringing her children, Laenor and Qarl.
Upon their arrival, word of Harwin and Lyonel’s deaths reach King’s Landing, which Alicent is horrified about.
She clearly did not wish for this, as she says.
The question is if Larys really did interpret her words to mean that she did, or if he is just saying he saw it that way to blackmail her.
My bet is on the second possibility.
Larys wants his reward for killing his family eventually, after all, and Otto’s return must surely bring a big one.
It is on this disturbing note that the episode comes to an end.
“The Princess and the Queen” is another great episode of House of the Dragon.
My only criticisms are that Harwin being punished while Criston is not is weird, and that some scenes, like Laena’s death, feel a little rushed.
Although, this is understandable, given that the writers have to hurry to reach the events they want to by the end of the season.
I am quite excited for the next episode, “Driftmark”, which is sure to be a big one.

Book Spoiler Section:
In this part of the review, I would like to discuss the theory that Helena is a dreamer.
She does seem to prophesy Aemond losing an eye, which will happen next episode, stating that, “he will have to close an eye.”
I am unsure what the other vague statements she makes could be in reference to.
Speaking of Aemond getting his eye cut out, I am extremely excited to see that whole fight between him and Rhanerya’s kids.
I have heard rumors that Bela and Rhaena’s role in the fight will be bumped up, along with another rumor of a massive book change so I am intrigued to see what that will be.
Laenor’s death and Rhanerya marrying Daemon also looks to be happening.
Alot of interesting things will occur in Episode Seven and I am eager to watch then unfold tomorrow.

House of the Dragon Episode Five, We Light the Way Review: The Green Wedding.

After directing the fantastic episode “King of the Narrow Sea”, Clare Kilner returns to direct Episode Five of House of the Dragon, “We Light the Way.”
The episode begins by answering one of the questions I have had ever since reading Fire and Blood, which is what caused the death of Daemon’s wife, Rhea Royce?
In the book, George R.R Martin writes that she died after falling from her horse, however, this always seemed quite a bit convenient for Daemon, so I wondered if he had a hand in it.
“We Light the Way” confirms Daemon’s involvement, depicting him arriving at the Vale in secret, scaring Rhea’s horse, causign her to fall and become paralyzed.
Daemon then bashes her head in with a rock, off screen.
What makes this murder disturbing is how, much like in the battle with the Crab Feeder in Episode Three, Daemon does not speak a single word.
This adds a level of unpreditability to his actions.
Whenever Daemon is silent is when you need to be truly afraid of him.
As for how he scared the horse to throw Rhea off, one interesting theory I have heard is that the horse was scared of Daemon because it could smell Caraxes on him.
We know riders do smell of their dragons after riding, as Rhanerya is told a few times in Episode One.
Another interesting detail is Rhea Royce’s last words, as she mocks Daemon for not being able to “finish.”
In the moment, it seems she is talking about him holding off on murdering her but the subtext appears to imply that she is actually referencing Daemon’s impotence.
In Episode Four, he could not have sex with Rhanerya because he was put off when she began to take control.
Could this be part of the reason he hated Rhea so much?
As for Daemon potentially holding off on killing Rhea, it does seem he is leaving her to die, before Rhea insults him, after which he decides to kill her with the rock.
We do not know if this was his train of thought, however, due to his silence.
I like how the show is portraying the ambiguity of Daemon’s thoughts so far.
It was also sad to see Rhea go as the actress, Rachel Redford, did a good job in her scene.
After the murder, the scene quite literally cuts, as it transitions from Daemon about to kill Rhea to a chef cutting off a fish’s head, implying Rhea’s death.
The scene is now on a ship, where Viserys, Rhanerya and their entourage, are travelling to Driftmark to offer Corlys a marriage between his son Laenor and Rhanerya.
With Otto’s dismissal as Hand of the King, the job has been passed on to Lyonel Strong, a good choice, considering he is the only one in the King’s Council who does not give advice for personal gain.
As for Otto, we get a scene of his departure, with Alicent attempting to apologise for him being removed as Hand, which she caused by telling Rhanerya of his spying.
She says she believes Rhanerya’s claim that nothing happened with Daemon, to which Otto berates her for, telling his daughter that she is no fool but she refuses to see the truth.
He warns her that to become queen Rhanerya will have to kill Alicent’s children, even though she has shown no sign of ever thinking this.
Yet, despite all the manipulation he has put her through, Otto does seem to genuinely love his daughter but does not know how to express it.
His final words to Alicent do leave an impact, however, as we will see later.
For now, Alicent is also influenced by Lyonel’s son Larys, who sneakily informs her of the tea Rhanerya was sent by Viserys to prevent a pregnancy, increasing her doubts.
Meanwhile, Viserys and his entourage finally reach Driftmark but are made to walk to see Corlys, a sign of disrespect from the Sea Snake.
Corlys knows where to pull his punches, though, as he bends the knee when Viserys stands before him.
Rhaneys then arrives and she and her husband announce the death of Rhea, talking about it as if it were an accident, yet it is clear that none of them believe it.
Viserys proposes the marriage between Rhanerya and Laenor, and Corly’s continues to push boundaries, seeking power for his family, wondering if the children they have will bear the name Velaryon.
Viserys concedes this but is adamant that the child who takes the throne after Rhanerya shall be named Targaryen, to which Corlys accepts, agreeing to the marriage pact.
As this arrangement is taking place, Rhanerya and Laenor walk on the beach and come to their own arrangement.
Rhanerya is aware of Laenor’s sexuality so subtly sugests that they marry but then take what lovers they wish, to which Laenor also agrees.
Corlys is in a state of denial about this, however, believing that Laenor will grow out of his preference for men, showing the time that Westeros is stuck in (although that is not saying much since this attitude can be seen today, unfortunately).
On a lighter note, it is funny to see Corlys be so assertive in his negotiation with Viserys and then become more uncertain around Rhaenys, showing his vulnerabilities to her, as he wonders if he pushed Viserys too far.
They truly are one of the happier couples in Westeros.
This happy mood turns darker, however, as Rhaenys points out that Rhanerya’s succession will be challenged, due to her gender, putting Laenor’s life and the lives of any children he has with Rhanerya at risk.
Corlys vows to protect them, leadsingto him saying that Rhaenys should have been queen but Rhaenys tells him she has got over the loss and so should he.
This was a great scene between the couple, with a few interesting details, like the Crab Feeder’s mask on display.
It is followed up by a scene with another couple, as we meet Laenor’s lover ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod), the Knight of Kisses
Their relationship is quite healthy, like Corlys and Rhaenys’, as Joffrey is accepting of Laenor’s position and wishes to protect him when he becomes Rhanerya’s king consort.
This is paralleled by the less than healthy relationship between Rhanerya and Criston.
The Kingsguard confronts Rhanerya on their return to Kings’ Landing about their affair, wanting to run away and start a new life with her.
Rhanerya obviously refuses, given the responsibility Viserys has placed on her shoulders with the knowledge about the White Walkers.
She even seems to be about to tell Criston about this, before he interrupts her.
What Criston says shows the unhealthy state of their relationship, since Criston’s main reason for asking Rhanerya to run away with him was so he could regain his own honour after breaking his vow of chastity with her, as the white cloak he wears is the only thing to his name.
Criston’s inner turmoil is put on further display when Alicent calls for him to talk after reaching King’s Landing.
So great is it that he misinterprets Alicent’s questions about Daemon and Rhanerya to be about himself and Rhanerya and admits to their affair.
He even begs her to have him merely put to death, rather than gelded and tortured.
Emily Carey’s face during this plea shows a wide range of emotions, chief among them a feeling of betrayal against Rhanerya, as her worst fears are confirmed.
She is probably thinking of Otto’s warning in this moment and deciding where her loyalties lie.
As this talk is happening, Viserys is having his own with Lyonel after being treated by the Maesters.
Viserys reflects over his life and wonders what the people will say of him after he is gone, since he was never a conqueror.
Lyonel views this as a positive thing, since he continued Jaehaerys’ peace,
As a book reader, it is interesting to see this scene and know how Viserys is remembered, not only by the people of Westeros but by book readers.
I will leave that for the spoiler section, though.
Speaking of Viserys, the guy looks pretty terrible in this scene and I have seen numerous reactors believe that he died here, until he is shown later.
The make-up department for this show is doing an excellent job at detailing the progression of Viserys’ mysterious illness, which Paddy Considine has said is actually a form of Leprosy.
The shot fades away from Viserys’ sickened face to Kings’ Landing on the day of the wedding celebrations.
Laenor and Rhaenys both arrive on their dragons, Sea Smoke and Meleys, the Red Queen.
After this, we see the procession of noble guests gretting Viserys and Rhanerya, including Jason Lannister being a prideful jerk again, and Rhea’s cousin Gerold (Owen Oakeshott), who accepts condolences for Rhea’s death.
The Velaryons then arrive, quickly followed by Daemon, who swaggers in unnannounced.
Viserys reluctantly welcomes him, wordlessly offering him a chair at the table.
Daemon, likewise, does not speak, again making us wonder what his intentions are.
Viserys then begins a grand speech about the future of Targaryen rule, only to be interrupted by the best moment in the episode, as Alicent arrives in a green dress, Ramin Djawadi’s excellent score serving as her entrance.
As a book reader, this was such an exciting moment to see.
The enormity of this moment is translated to show only viewers by Larys, who informs his brother Harwin that the green colour of Alicent’s dress is symbolising her house calling its banners to war.
After Alicent’s dramatic entrance, the celebration continues, with Joffrey noticing Criston eyeing Rhanerya, and Gerold Royce confronting Daemon about Rhea’s murder.
It does not go how he planned, however, as Daemon announces his intention to inherit Rhea’s lands, before going down to join the dancing.
He dances with Laena Velaryon (Savannah Steyn) for a bit, who shows quite an interest in him, before moving on to Rhanerya.
Daemon makes another play for Rhanerya’s hand but she is dismissive of him this time, goading him into stealing her away, which she appears to know he will not do.
While this is happening, Joffrey has a talk with Criston, suggesting they take a vow to protect Laenor and Rhanerya because, if they stay safe, so do they all.
Whether Criston sees this as blackmail, is disgusted because he sees himself in Joffrey, or a combination of the two, the end result is the same.
Criston attacks Joffrey and proceeds to beat him to death in front of dozens of noble witnesses, also assaulting Laenor, while Rhanerya has to be saved by Harwin.
This scene has resulted in a lot of questions about how exactly Criston got away with murdering a knight in front of everyone.
An argument could be made for Alicent speaking up for him but we do not see this happen.
Criston murdering Joffrey in front of everyone is actually a change from the book, where he killed him in a tourney, so he had the excuse that it was an accident.
The change raises the plot hole of how Criston got away with it, so I do wish the murder had been done differently to have Criston going unpunished make more sense.
As least the acting is great here, with Theo Nate’s grief stricken cries over Joffrey being especially tragic.
You cannot have a Westerosi wedding without at least one death, after all, or it is considered a dull affair.
I say we call this one the Green Wedding, after Alicent’s dress reveal.
After the night’s horrifying events, Viserys decides to marry Rhanerya and Laenor right away, celebrations be damned.
Viserys collapses during the wedding, showing just how sick he is getting.
Before this happens,  Criston goes outside to commit suicide, only to be stopped by Alicent who, presumably, wants to form an alliance with him.
It looks like Rhanerya is going to regret naming him to the Kingsguard, after all.
Out of all five episodes, I would say that “We Light the Way” is my second favourite, behind “King of the Narrow Sea.”
My only issue is that Criston getting away with murdering Joffrey is a plot hole.
Otherwise this was a great episode and an excellent farewell to Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, who both did a terrific job playing a young Rhanerya and Alicent.


Book Spoiler Section:
About Viserys’ legacy, it was interesting to think about this when the king himself worried about how he would be remembered.
Unfortunately for him, I do not think he is remembered all that well.
Yes, his rule was peaceful but it was the precursor to the Dance of the Dragons, something which started in part because of Viserys’ complacancy.
It makes sense why he was this way, given how he likely wanted Weteroes to be peaceful so they could be united when the White Walkers eventually attacked.
But good intentions do not always result in good things happening and, especially the world of Westeroes.
Bad intentioned actions are the same as well, for Daemon’s efforts to claim Runestone will be for nothing, since Jeyne Arryn will refuse his request.
As for Alicent and Criston, it was interesting to finally see what turned them both against Rhanerya and I think it makes a lot of sense for the both of them.
They will now become huge problems for Rhanerya and it was interesting to see how that played out ten years later in the following episode, “The Princess and the Queen.”

Chainsaw Man Chapter 105, Red Hot Review: I Should Have Expected the Unexpected.

While reading Chapter 105 of Chainsaw Man, “Red Hot”, there was a single word I kept shouting in the last half.
“WHAT!?”
Honestly, I should never have gone into this chapter expecting something simple.
Every time I do, Fujimoto brings out some completley crazy twist, which leaves me stumped.
“Red Hot” begins in the aftermath of Denji revealing to Asa that he is Chainsaw Man.
In my review of the previous chapter, I speculated that Asa might have been acting like she did not believe Denji when she actually did.
Turns out that this theory was wrong but, on the other hand, Yoru believes Denji’s claim entirely.
Asa shuts this down, however, saying Denji is not Chainsaw Man because it would stupid of him to reveal his identity.
Little does Asa know that Denji actually is stupid enough to do that.
Yoru’s main take away from this, though, is Asa calling her stupid, causing her to shout out that she isn’t.
It is once again quite funny to see the War Devil throwing a temper tantrum like a child.
However, this is the point where I have to talk about my one issue with the chapter, which is a small continuity error.
When Yoru first appears in this scene, shouting at Asa that Denji just admitted he was Chainsaw Man, she has no scar on her face, which is her defining feature.
Her scar is present in other panels but here it is strangely missing.
I wonder if this will be fixed later, in the volume release perhaps?
Even if it is not, though, this is not a huge issue.
After school, Yoru wants to continue hunting devils so Asa can get into the devil club to continue their hunt for Chainsaw Man.
Asa wants to go see Yuko instead and distracts Yoru, by telling her to think of a plan to draw a devil to school so they can force Chainsaw Man to reveal himself.
Yoru begins to think while Asa wonders if she can tame the War Devil, both completley unaware that the chance to lure a devil to the school is about to fall right into their laps in the most shocking way imaginable.
Asa goes to see Yuko, who is recuperating at home.
Yuko calls her Chainsaw Woman for saving her, which may also be a potential hint from Fujimoto about more scenes between Denji and Asa in the future.
The two sit togethor but an awkward silence quickly follows.
Yuko resolves this by suggesting they share secrets so Asa shares an embarrassing story about how she peed herself in class and acted like it was sweat.
Asa admitting this embarrassing secret results in the endearing moment of Yuko laughing so hard, she keeps accidentally hurting her broken leg.
However, this wholesome moment quickly turns disturbing when it becomes Yuko’s turn to tell Asa her secret.
Out of absolutley nowhere, Yuko admits to Asa that she murdered her neighbour because of his gambling habit.
This resulted in my first audible “What?!” of the chapter, as I tried to figure out if Yuko was joking or not.
A series of panels then follow of Asa awkwardly playing off Yuko’s confession as a joke, before it slowly dawna on her that she is serious, and we get a full page spread of the two sitting togethor in a grim silence, a door placed between them, resembling the one hiding Denji’s secret in the first part of Chainsaw Man.
After a disturbingly cheery encounter with another of Yuko’s neighbours, Asa questions Yuko further, asking if she was really serious about murdering someone, to which Yuko offers to show Asa the body.
An awkward refusal from Asa follows but this does not ruin Yuko’s demeanour, with her declaring that they are “besties”, now that they have both shared their secrets.
Yuko consoles Asa by telling her that she will not tell anyone that she peed her pants… or that she knows Yoru is possessing her and killed her teacher and the class president.
Cue my second “What?!” as I am left shocked, wondering how the hell Yuko knows about that.
Asa too questions this, resulting in my third audible “What?!” when Yuko admits to making a contract with the Justice Devil and can now read people’s mind to see if their “crimes” deserve punishment.
She made this contract so she can protect Asa from her bullies, telling her, “Don’t come to school tomorrow”, ending the chapter.
Well, not only has this chapter unexpectedly revealed that Yuko is a complete psycho in contract with the Justice Devil, but it has also revealed that she is planning to attack the school, killing all of Asa’s bullies.
This implication makes it difficult to not immediately think of the mind numbing amount of tragedies in America, with school shootings happening there so often.
I hope Fujimoto portrays this right, if it is what he is going for.
As for what this means for Yuko’s character, it will be interesting to see if she was always this crazy or if her contract with the Justice Devil warped her somehow?
Maybe the price for the contract was her sanity?
If not, it certainly paints a darker picture of her statement in Chapter 104, where she said, “Even if my actions turn out to be a mistake, if my heart is in the right place, that’s all that matters to me!”
Then there is Asa and Yoru’s situation.
They did not even need to find a way to lure a devil to the school because now Yuko is going to bring the Justice Devil there herself.
This should undoubtedly lead to a confrontation with Chainsaw Man but I wonder how Asa will deal with everything?
She has the power to turn Yuko into a weapon with Yoru’s power, which could stop a large amount of bloodshed, but will she have the strength to do so?
This could be a defining moment for Asa’s character, along with leading to her learning that Denji really is Chainsaw Man, which I am sure Yoru will rub in her face.
Overall, “Red Hot” is another great Chainsaw Man chapter.
I started reading, expecting a simple, plot building chapter and finished it with my mind blown at the story’s latest twists.

Lycoris Recoil Review: Season Two, Please?

There are two anime that I have enjoyed above all others this season.
The first of those is CyberPunk: Edgerunners, which I reviewed a few days ago.
The second of these is Lycoris Recoil.
To be honest, I had no idea this anime existed until I heard all of the praise it was getting and decided to check it out, only to become hooked right from the first episode.
Created by Spider Lily and Asaura, and directed by Shingo Adachi, Lycoris Recoil is set in a Japan where the peace is kept by a secret organization known as the DA, which recruits teenage girl assassins known as the Lycoris.
One of these Lycoris is Takina Inoue (Shion Wakayama), a deadpan girl who very rarely lets her emotions out.
While on a mission with her squad, Takina makes a choice which results in one of her colleagues being saved but also ends up allowing the cash of illegal guns they were trying to capture get away.
Although, in my opinion, Takina certainly made the right call, she still takes the fall for the mission’s failure and is relocated to a cafe known as LycoReco.
This punishment is not all bad, however, because she gets to work with the greatest Lycoris agent, Chisato Nishikigi (Chika Anzai), who can literally dodge bullets.

Chisato is Takina’s exact opposite: cheerful, loud and insistent on using non-lethal bullets to incapacitate her foes.
The anime then follows the two girls’ adventures as they go on missions and hang out, with Chisato promising to help Takina get back into the DA, while also bringing the emotionally stunted girl out of her shell.

Lycoris Recoil follows the adventures of Chisato, Takina, and the rest of the cafe staff.

The bond that grows between Chisato and Takina is great, with plenty of wholesome, funny and emotional moments between the two, whether they be just spending time together or fighting on missions.
It is not just them, however, as the rest of the cast is just as great.
There is the main antagonist, Majima (Yoshitsugi Matsuoka), who has an interesting motivation and compelling interactions with Chisato.
Then there is Chisato’s mentor Mika (Kosuke Sakaki).
His bond with her is heart-warming, and this ultimately results in one of his final scenes presenting what is probably the most tragic moment in the entire show.

This scene is definitley the saddest in the anime.

The last character I want to talk about is Shinji Yoshimatsu (Yoji Ueda), another character with an intriguing connection to Chisato, and his manipulative nature made him my most hated character in the show by far.
The good kind of hate, though, not the unintentionally bad character type.
Basically, there are a lot of great characters, and this makes things very tense in the last five or so episodes, where the stakes are so high.
These high stakes are accompanied by great action, which is present throughout the entire show, really. 

The action scenes during the final episodes are especially great.

I could watch Chisasto and Takina take out a room of armed goons like they are John Wick for a while, if there was more of it.
Speaking of which, please let there be more of it.
There has been a lot of speculation about a second season of Lycoris Recoil and there are two things which I think make this a distinct possibility.
The first of these is that the anime has done really well financially, obviously.
The second is that the ending left a few teases for future storylines that were not wrapped up.
This is not to say that the ending of Lycoris Recoil leaves dangling plot points, creating an unsatisfying ending; far from it.
The ending ties up most of its loose plot threads exceptionally well, while also hinting at a few more, just in case a second season gets the green light. 

This scene in particular contains something which could be hinting at season two content.

I think that most of us who have seen this show are hoping for that green light because Lycoris Recoil is a great anime.
It has fun action and animation, plenty of wholesome and funny moments, and a well done emotional connection between its two lead characters.
Bring on season two, please.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Review: An Amazing Videogame Anime Adaptation.

Like many people, I was highly anticipating Cyberpunk 2077 before it was released.
I think it is fair to say that it was one of the most anticipated video games of all time, what with how hyped up the marketing was.
This made it all the more crushing when the game released practically broken at launch, especially on consoles.
I reviewed Cyberpunk 2077 shortly after release and I gave it a positive review, despite admitting that it caused my PlayStation to crash five times on my first play through.
Looking back, I think I was too lenient.
However, at the same time, I can also see why I gave the game a positive review because of how much the story, characters and world building gripped me.
Such features made me excited when it was announced that Studio Trigger would be releasing their own anime set in the Cyberpunk 2077 universe, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. 

Despite the game’s many many faults, the anime had the chance to be something special.

You may have heard the buzz surrounding this anime as one of the best of the year and, after watching all ten episodes, I can add my voice to this buzz.
Directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is set in Night City, a corporation-run hell hole, where the only way to make a name for yourself is to cybernetically enhance your body, often to the point of cyberpsychosis.
It is this bleak city where we meet our main character David Martinez (Kenn) who, after a tragic turn of events, decides to have a military grade piece of technology, known as the Sandevistan, implanted into his body.
This leads to David meeting a netrunner named Lucy (Aoi Yuki), introducing him to the world of Edgerunners, which he excels in, due to his new implant.
The growing bond between David and Lucy is great to see play out as they have such excellent chemistry. 

David and Lucy work well togethor right from the start.

It is not only them, though, because the other wacky characters among the Edgerunners are also very compelling.
There is the tough as nails leader Maine (Hiroki Toshi), his also tough as nails girlfriend Dorio (Michiki Kaiden), experienced netrunner Kiwi (Takako Honda), getaway driver Falco (Yasuyuki Kase), and, of course, Rebecca (Tomoyo Kurosawa).
I saved Rebecca for last because she was definitely my favourite character in the show.
She is crazy and wild but also extremely loyal to those she cares for, creating a complex character who was entertaining to watch.

Every scene with Rebecca is a blast.

With so many great characters, it is made all the more tragic when some of them bite the dust.
This is Night City, after all, where happy endings are rare and bloody endings are all too common.
Speaking of blood, wow, was this show gory.
Studio Trigger really committed to the violence of the game. 

People explode into bloody messes a lot in this anime.

Along with this, the animation for the action scenes and the soundtrack in these moments are stellar.
Such features all come together to create a spectacular anime that has convinced many people to replay Cyberpunk 2077, or play it for the first time.
For these new players, they will see a few familiar faces from Edgerunners, as some characters from the game are incorporated here, mostly as cameos.
However, there is one character from the game who has a big role.
I will not spoil who it is but, in my opinion, this character was portrayed much better in Edgerunners than in Cyberpunk 2077.          
I would be open to see more characters from the game pop up in the Cyberpunk Universe, if Studio Trigger wants to continue this series, maybe as an anthology where we focus on different Night City characters each season. 

We can see how new characters from Night City are “remembered” if this show continues.

This is how much I enjoyed this anime.
I liked it so much that I am now wishing for a second season that we probably will not get.
If Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is a one time thing, however, then it is certainly worth it.
Studio Trigger delivered a fantastic anime here.
Along with other amazing video game adaptations, like Arcane, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners makes it seem like animated series are the way to go for such adaptations.