Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – A Convoluted Mess.

Harry Potter 
is one of the most beloved book and movie series of all time so any continuation of it would naturally be compared to the older series.
While the first film in this new series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, was nothing spectacular, I still thought it was a good place to start and would get better as it went on.
Sadly, this was not the case because I found the latest installment in the Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Gindelwald directed by David Yates, to be a frustrating mess.
The reason for this frustration was because I could see so many elements of a good film here but it just got dragged down by how convoluted the plot got with its way too large roster of characters and how messily this plot was handled.
The characters are easily some of the most egregious parts of the film for me because it felt like so many of them could have and should have been cut.
Characters like Nagini (Claudia Kim), Nicolas Flamel (Brontis Jodorowsky), and Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam), either offered nothing to the plot or made the story unnecessarily complicated.

I will admit that when she first appeared I did find Nagini’s backstory interesting, but after this point she does nothing and becomes ultimately pointless.

Kama was a perfect example of this because his only purpose in the movie was to deliver one of the worst cases of expositional dialogue I had ever seen with it being extremely convoluted and offering nothing in the grand scheme of the story.
What is worse is that these unnecessary additions take away from the main characters’ development.
For example, Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander is treated very poorly.
He is given a brother and maybe a former love interest in this film but neither seem to contribute to his arc in a meaningful way.
This arc, from Newt not wanting to fight Grindelwald, to him choosing to do so, was ruined by his lack of development given by this messy plot.
On top of this, I have no idea why Jude Law’s Dumbledore tasked him with fighting Grindelwald in the first place.
If anything, Newt is a wizarding zoologist and that does not seem like the right job requirements to take on a dark lord.

Newt is a likeable character and Redmayne plays him well but he just does not fit as the hero taking on an evil wizard hellbent on world domination. 

This is all such a shame because there were moments of brilliance in the film. The opening few minutes and final action sequence are very enjoyable, the final twist is a great one, and a couple of characters do have meaningful arcs.
None of these characters are poorly acted either, with Johnny Depp giving the best performance of the film as the charismatically evil Grindelwald.
It is just that the writing for this film has too much going on and is so convoluted that it drags all of it down.
This is quite a shock, since the film was written by J.K Rowling, the original writer of the Harry Potter series.
If The Crimes of Grindelwald does get a sequel, hopefully this time it will give the story more breathing room.

BoJack Horseman Season Four: Grab the Tissues for This One.

5 stars
Wow, what a roller coaster of emotions this season was.
BoJack Horseman has always been a show that has tackled adult themes like the impact of stardom and depression but season four presents these themes in ways it never has before.
Picking up from the depressing, yet somewhat hopeful, cliffhanger from the previous season, BoJack Horseman season four features many obstacles for its numerous characters.
Princess Carolyn is trying to get pregnant, Mr Peanutbutter is running for Governor leaving Diane to deal with the mess, BoJack finds out he has a daughter and tries to help her find her mother, and Todd is… well, Todd.
To be honest Todd does not go through much this season development wise, even though he has an episode focused on him, but he is still incredibly entertaining.
Along with this, all the other characters have such meaningful journeys in this season that made me connect with them in ways I never had before.

BoJack and his mother.jpg
Season four added layers to so many characters, even minor ones like BoJack’s mother Beatrice (Wendie Malick). 

Princess Carolyn attempting to get pregnant and how this evolved over the season revealed an amazing amount of layers to her.
Mr Peanutbutter and Diane’s struggles highlighted both the highs and lows of their relationship.
Finally there was BoJack’s storyline with his recently discovered daughter, which was by far the most impactful.
Not only was their relationship beautifully done but it also shined a light on BoJack’s family history and the cycle of abuse that has been going on from the days of his grandparents.
This resulted in BoJack’s mother Beatrice also being expanded upon, with the season explaining why she was such a cruel mother to BoJack.
This made her sympathetic, even though she is still a terrible person.
As for BoJack’s daughter Hollyhock Manheim-Mannheim-Gurrero-Robin… OK, I am not even going to attempt to say that.
Anyway, as for Hollyhock, she is another fantastic addition to the cast who I hope sticks around.

BoJack and Hollyhawk.jpg
Seeing BoJack try to forger a relationship with his daughter Hollyhock was very moving and the had me tearing up by the end of the final episode.

The whole storyline with BoJack and his family provided some of the best episodes of the entire series.
Episode two, “The Old Sugarman Place”, brilliantly blended flashbacks into the present story and delivered an emotional ending.
Episode six, “Stupid Piece of Sh*t”, had probably the best representation of depression the show has had.
Episode eleven, “Time’s Arrow”, delivered a mind blowing twist that had me shook.
Then there was the last episode of the season, “What Time is Right Now”, which you had better bring tissues too.
The last scene of that episode is probably my favourite in all of BoJack Horseman, delivering a beautiful ending to an already powerful season that left me in tears of joy.
Oh yeah, and the comedy was spot on too, I guess.
What can I say though?
It is very rare for a show like BoJack Horseman‘s emotional moments to be so fantastic that they completely outshine the comedy but this is what happened.
Season four of BoJack Horseman is the best season of the show so far and if you have not watched the series yet you NEED to.
My one concern is that the hopeful note the season ends on will probably result in more depressing stuff in the next.


Attack on Titan Volume 22 Review: Possibly Marks the end of Season Three.

Chapter 87: Borderline.

5 stars
“Borderline” came right after my favourite chapter of Attack on Titan, “That Day” so it had some huge shoes to fill if it wanted to compete with it.
The chapter sure did come close though, with more mind blowing reveals that I cannot wait to see animated.
Picking up from the previous chapter where Grisha and Dina were turned in by Zeke to the Marleyan Authorities, the two are taken to Paradis to be turned into Titans where we get some huge twists.
It turns out that many of the Eldia Restorationists are actually Titans we have seen before in the series.
The majority of them are the ones who attacked Eren during the battle of Trost where he was eaten.
Most shocking of all, Dina is revealed to be the Smiling Titan who ate Eren’s mother.
While, this was a huge shock to read, at the time I did wonder what purposed this served to the story other than it being a random twist but the true point is revealed later in the volume.
Accompanying this shocking twist was a fantastic panel, which showed half of Grisha and Eren’s face as they both reacted to Dina becoming the Smiling Titan in the past and present.
After this, The final twist of the volume reveals Kruger to be the Owl, which I had my suspicions about, and he kills the cruel Marleyan soldier Gross before turning into a Titan and going on a rampage.
The death of Gross is in my opinion one of the most satisfying moments of the entire series.
This is surprising, considering he was only around for two chapters but when you take into account what he did it explains this satisfaction.
I know a lot of people say there are no evil characters in Attack on Titan but Gross is the exception to this.
Evil is the only word to describe a person who feeds a little girl to dogs and feels no guilt about it whatsoever.
However, Gross’ reasoning for this did lead to another interesting revelation.
Gross reveals that only Eldians can turn into Titans and describes this as their “true form.”
On top of all these reveals the chapter also provides emotional growth for Grisha when he thinks about what a terrible father he was to Zeke and how he made the same mistakes as his father by pushing his views on him.
“Borderline” was another fantastic chapter for Attack on Titan in a long line of them.

Chapter 88: The Attack Titan.

4 and a half stars
Just when I thought there could not be anymore explosive reveals after the previous two chapters multitude of them, Chapter 88 “The Attack Titan” delivered even more.
First it is revealed that Kruger’s first name is Eren, with our Eren actually being named after him, and then it is revealed that all Titan Shifters die 13 years after they get their powers from what is known as Ymir’s Curse.
The second reveal is by far the most impactful because it sets time limits for all of its characters with Titan Shifting abilities.
Eren, for example, only has eight years to live while Armin, who recently took the Colossal Titan power, has 13.
This adds a new layer of tension to all of the Titan Shifter characters because this means, unless Isayama delivers a twist where the curse can be prevented, all of them will die by the end of the series.
However, even though this does add tension, it raises a pretty significant plot hole.
In “Bystander” Keith Sadies said that Grisha arrived 20 years ago.
However, going by the rules of Ymir’s Curse this is cannot be right.
Grisha came inside the walls after inheriting Eren Kruger’s Titan so he would have lived behind the walls for 13 years before passing on his power to Eren and five years have passed in the current story since then.
This would mean Grisha must have lived there for 18 years so there are two years unaccounted for.
This is a plot hole but, then again, it could be set-up for a plot twist by Isayama.
You never know with him.
There were also a few extra reveals to prevent any plot holes, like when Eren states that if a Titan Shifter dies of Ymir’s Curse then their power immediately goes to a random Eldian baby.
Apart from all the reveals, the other great feature this chapter had was all the great character development, from Mikasa’s reaction to Ymir’s Curse, to Eren Kruger’s backstory.
It is revealed he had to watch his family burn alive, which motivated him to spy on Marley from the inside, forcing him to commit many atrocious crimes towards innocent people to keep the act going.
From what we have seen of him, Kruger is a very interesting character and it is a shame we will probably not see more of him because he is eaten by Grisha off screen.
Kruger also presents some very interesting information about Ymir Fritz, which may be of importance, including mentioning a theory that she got her powers from “the source of all organic material”, whatever that means.
He also states what is already one of my favourite quotes from the series, ““anyone can become a god or a devil. All it takes is for someone to claim that to be the truth.”
The chapter ends with the name of the Titan Grisha inherits and then later passes down to Eren being revealed as the Attack Titan.
I cannot be sure but I am pretty certain this is a reference to the title of the series Attack on Titan, which is a nice addition.
Overall, “The Attack Titan” was another great chapter that filled in the backstory and added real stakes, even if it also introduced a plot hole.

Chapter 89: Meeting.

4 stars
This chapter was an interesting one when it comes to chronology because it was here that Ymir(the second one, not the one who created the Titans)’s backstory was finally revealed in the manga.
Her backstory was actually revealed earlier in season two of the anime in the episode “Children”, which is one of my favourite episodes.
However, in comparison, the way the manga reveals Ymir’s backstory is nowhere near as impactful as it is in the anime.
Sure, it does make more sense for it to be revealed in a letter to Historia rather than her own inner reflection but in the manga this backstory feels more like a way for Isayama to tie up loose ends rather than to add to Ymir’s character development.
The artwork during this sequence was still solid though, especially when Ymir woke up, but it did not have the sense of empowerment and character growth that it did in the anime.
In short, the backstory reveal in the manga is not bad and I still liked it but the anime greatly improved on it.
The letter itself was still very emotional with Ymir saying goodbye to Historia and declaring her love for her.
What I did find disappointing about the letter though was that Ymir confirms she will be dead by the time Historia reads this.
If Ymir really does die it will feel like a missed opportunity to me because I have always felt like she is the series’ most underused character (next to Annie who I barely care about anymore).
If she does die, I hope it is in a meaningful way that ties up her arc nicely.
On the other hand, one thing I enjoyed about this moment was Historia’s reaction to Ymir’s letter.
In a single panel, barely noticeable, we see a tear slowly go down Historia’s cheek, which she tries to cover up when her friends arrive, showing just so close she is to falling apart at the news of Ymir’s potential death.
The rest of “Meeting” was also great, especially with the meeting where everyone discussed what they had learned from Eren’s basement.
Eren realizing he could use the Founding Titan’s briefly because he came into contact with Dina, who had royal blood, was a great reveal.
Before this I was concerned that Dina being the Smiling Titan was just for shock value so I am glad Isayama made this play a role in the story.
It also led to the funny scene where Eren tries to underplay his reaction to this as because of puberty, which was a bit of a recurring joke.
However, what is not funny is the implications this has for Historia because she is also of royal blood.
This seems to set up Eren eating Historia in the future to use the Founding Titan’s abilities, which would be devastating.
However, Eren seems dedicated to protecting Historia so hopefully he will manage to do so.
Then there is the final moments of the chapter, which is without a doubt the biggest WTF moment of the series and is either a really good thing or a really bad thing.
In a flashback, Kruger talks to Grisha about Mikasa and Armin who had not been born yet.
This appears to be heavily implying that Titan Shifters can see into the future as well as the past, which, depending on how it plays into the story, could be a fantastic twist or a jump the shark moment.
I am hoping for the first one.

Chapter 90: To the Other Side of the Wall.

5 stars
After 90 chapters of build-up the ocean was finally reached by Eren, Armin and the others.
This looks to be where the second-half of season three will end, due to the multiple cases of foreshadowing towards the ocean.
Personally, I think this will be a brilliant way to end the season based on the reveal of it in this chapter.
The ocean has always been a symbol of hope for Eren and Mikasa, and especially Armin but, as Eren expertly points out at the end of the chapter, this hope is false because on the other side of the ocean everyone wants them dead.
This results in the final few powerful panels where Eren wonders if they will finally be free after they defeat their enemies and a sea shell is shown in Armin’s hand symbolizing this small hope.
It is a beautiful scene that I cannot wait to see in the anime.
The rest of the chapter is just as solid, presenting this same feeling of hope and dread throughout.
As those inside the walls celebrate retaking Wall Maria and discovering the truth of what is out there, multiple things point to this celebration being short lived.
Floch questions why Armin was chosen to take on the Colossal Titan instead of Erwin, Eren experiences a memory from Grisha of Fay’s mutilated body, and, when kissing Historia’ hand in a ceremony, he experiences the moment right before his father killed her family.
All of this hints towards the cruelty of the world they live in, despite the celebrations and signs of hope that are present.
The constant clashing of the themes of hope and cruelty in this chapter all point towards the greater themes of the story so far and make for another fantastic chapter, especially with the ocean reveal.


Bohemian Rhapsody: Safe? Yes. Entertaining? Also Yes.

3 and a half stars
Even if you are not a big fan of music it would be strange if you had not heard of Queen.
Their music remains some of the greatest of all time and their lead singer, Freddie Mercury, is one of the best showmen of all time.
As a result, it was only a matter of time before a biopic was made about their rise to stardom and Bohemian Rhapsody is that movie.
Named after one of their most famous songs, the film went through a rough production with Bryan Singer being fired as the director, although remaining credited.
Many critics have disliked how Bohemian Rhapsody seems to play it safe when telling the story of Queen rather than dealing with the darker and more controversial aspects of Freddie and the band.
However, while this is certainly true, with Bohemian Rhapsody telling the typical biopic story we have seen before, the film still manages to be very entertaining due to the enjoyable music sequences and an Oscar worthy performance by Rami Malek .
Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury is so good that you could be forgiven for thinking that it was Freddie himself on stage.

Freddie of Rami.jpg
Rami Malek gives a potentially Oscar worthy performance as Freddie Mercury, making him both eccentric and human. 

And, even though the film does play it safe in some areas, various aspects of Mercury’s life are shown in detail like him coming to grips with his sexuality and even hinting at a cocaine addiction.
This combined with Malek’s incredible performance makes him come across as very human and not just as the persona he presented on stage.
The music sequences are also entertaining with it being difficult not to sing along in theaters.
However, while this does make the film an entertaining watch, it is still not without its faults.
As I said, the film is a standard biopic that we have all seen before and puts the creation of songs over the band members’ struggles.

music bohemian rhapsody.jpg
With the exception of Freddie, none of the band members are focused on. Rather it is their music that takes center stage.

Along with this, the film is full of various inaccuracies.
I believe when creating a film based off a true story it needs to be mostly truthful so it is respectful towards actual events, although some creative liberties may be necessary.
Bohemian Rhapsody, however, has so many inaccuracies and, combing this with the prioritization of music over character development, this makes it feel like the film is trying to be about Queen’s music rather than the band as people.
Still, there are many moments of humanity in the film for Freddie that come from Malek’s performance, which stops this feeling from spilling all over the film.
And, even though the film does priorities the music over the actual story, it does not change the fact that Bohemian Rhapsody is still entertaining.
Check it Malik’s excellent performance and the musical sections because those will certainly “rock you.”

BoJack Horseman Season Three: “We’re Just Tiny Speaks that will one day be Forgotten.”

4 and a half stars
The tragic life of BoJack Horseman continues in season three, which is my favourite season of the series so far.
It all kicks off with BoJack touring to receive an Oscar nomination and from there the show continues to lay out its themes of depression and destructive behavior in both meaningful and tragic ways.
The season was not all sad though because there were a few uplifting episodes like “Fish Out Of Water” to add some feel-good moments to the show.
However, when this season gets depressing, boy does it hit you hard.
This is because season three primarily deals with how BoJack’s self-destructive personality affects those around him like Princess Carolyn and Sarah-Lynn (Kristen Schaal).
This all leads into the final few episodes, which deliver an emotional powerhouse of an ending.

BoJack and Sarah Lynn
The final two episodes of BoJack Horseman season three are real tearjerkers.

The title to episode eleven “That’s Too Much Man!” was an accurate one because the ending to this episode actually had me crying.
Seriously, now everyone time I hear someone say they want to be an architect I will be probably get as depressed as BoJack.
Then there was the ending to the final episode of the season, “That Went Well”, which looked to be going full speed ahead towards a dark and depressing end to the season before concluding on a somewhat hopeful and reflective note, just like the end of season one.
This all came together to deliver an emotional ending to a great season.
Along with this the comedy aspects of the show is also done well but, once again, it is the emotional gut punches that make BoJack Horseman such a great show.
Season three of BoJack Horseman was the best season so far because of its fantastically delivered emotional moments and I cannot wait to watch season four because I have heard its just as emotionally powerful.

Attack on Titan Volume 21 Review: The Basement Reveal Delivers the Best Chapter so far.

Chapter 83: Falling Axe.

4 stars
The follow-up chapter to Armin’s heroic sacrifice, Chapter 83, “Falling Axe” is set-up for the three brilliant chapters to follow in this volume.
Much like the previous chapter, it starts off great showing how Eren and Armin first met, with Eren encountering Armin after he had been beaten up by bullies.
Armin’s words about how he did not really lose because he did not run away and then Eren asking his name made for a fantastic transition into the current timeline where Eren is trying to cope with Armin’s charred body.
Before he can do anything, however, he is interrupted by Zeke (and the other Titan) who confront each other in their first meeting.
While I did like the scene between the two, after reading the rest of the volume I felt like the twist to who Zeke is probably should have been revealed here because we do not see Eren’s reaction to this.
However, it still is an interesting scene and if I had not already been spoiled on who Zeke was it would have been very intriguing build-up.
I especially liked how Zeke told Eren he would rescue him some day because it shows that Zeke thinks he is in the right.
However, their meeting is interrupted by Levi who naturally killed all the Titans Zeke sent after him, which prompts Zeke to go rescue Reiner.
But, before he is rescued, Hange and the others manage to retrieve a letter from Ymir to Historia that was in his possession.
Unfortunately, this adds to my increasing fears that Ymir is already dead, which I hope is not true because she is one of my favourite characters and I feel she could add a lot to the story given more screen time.
The chapter ends with the surviving soldier from Erwin’s suicide run at Zeke arriving with a badly injured Erwin leaving Levi to decide who should get the Titan Serum and eat Bertholdt, Erwin or Armin.
Once again, I had been spoiled on who would eat Bertholdt so this did not leave much investment for me by the end.
However, this does not change the fact that “Falling Axe” is still great build-up.
It might have its minor problems but it delivers quite a few great scenes like the first meeting between Eren and Zeke.

Chapter 84. Midnight Sun.

5 stars
As I said, I had already been spoiled on who would eat Bertholdt and become the Colossal Titan so I figured this chapter would not be very investing but, oh, how wrong I was.
“Midnight Sun” is an incredible chapter of Attack on Titan that delivers so much emotion.
I really wish I had not been spoiled on what would happen because this was just amazing to read.
First of all, I now know what that great mid-credits scene at the end of episode twelves of season three was all about.
The reason Levi is fighting with Eren and Mikasa is because he wants to give the Serum to Erwin while they want to give it to Armin.
However, before Mikasa can do anything crazy, Hange and the others show up and calm everyone down.
Both sides give good justifications for who should be chosen to eat Bertholdt, including the new character Floch, who compares Erwin to the devil, saying only he can save humanity.
Eren tries to get Levi to choose Armin by bringing up his dream to see the ocean.
This moment was so powerful it left me tearing up, which was a huge surprise because I already knew how it would end, showing just how amazing this chapter was at drawing out emotions.
In the end though, Levi chooses to save Armin and finally let Erwin rest.
The reveal that Armin was the one chosen was expertly handled and the death of Bertholdt that followed left me feeling sorry for him, despite everything he had done.
Then there was the death of Erwin.
Erwin is in my top five favourite characters of the series so I was sad to see him go but I personally believe he was killed off in a great way that tied off his character arc brilliantly.
I was also glad that I had not been spoiled on at least one major character death.
I knew coming in that Erwin would probably die because I had been spoiled Armin would become the Colossal Titan but I still had my reservations because I had not been spoiled.
So, it was nice to see a major character death I did not know for a certainty would be happening.
Speaking of character deaths, we also got confirmation this chapter that Moblit died saving Hange.
I feel like his death will probably be overlooked compared to Erwin and Bertholdt’s but he was still a great side character with a heroic death and I will miss him.
Overall, Midnight Sun was a perfect chapter that delivered a great emotional gut punch, even though I knew what was coming.

Chapter 85: Basement.

4 and a half stars
After 84 chapters of build-up, we finally got the reveal of what was inside the basement in Chapter 85 and it did not disappoint.
I was so glad I did not get spoiled about what was in there because what is revealed in this chapter and the next one open up the world of Attack on Titan in so many amazing ways.
We see at the end of the chapter that what Grisha left for Eren in his basement was a book that explains everything, along with a photo, writing that outside the walls humanity is not extinct.
This was a fantastic cliffhanger that led into the next chapter amazingly.
Not only this, but the cliffhanger also built on the recently departed Erwin’s legacy because we get a flashback to Nile telling the other military leaders that Erwin’s theory was that there were still humans outside the walls.
Well, his theory is confirmed with the ending cliffhanger, which  not only adds to his legacy but it makes his death all the more tragic because he could not see that he was right all along.
The rest of the chapter is just as great, starting off with Armin waking up after eating Bertholdt.
The panel where he hallucinates(?) the crying face of Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan with half of its face a skull is very striking.
Eren’s reaction to Armin waking up was also very touching and Levi’s pep-talk with Armin about saying there should be “no regrets” was a fantastic reference to his OVA with the same title.
After this, we get another great panel with a before and after shot of Mikasa and Armin arriving at their old home in the present and when they went to save Carla after Bertholdt breached the wall.
This leads to the scene in the basement where, originally, I though Hajime Isayama was going to pull something where it turned out that there was actually noting in the basement.
This fear was caused by Eren’s key not fitting the basement door and the group initially not finding anything in there.
Thankfully, this fear was unjustified because they later discovered Grisha’s book, leading to the fantastic cliffhanger.
I am so glad Isayama actually revealed there was something in the basement because if he had pulled a fast one then I would have hated it.
The final cliffhanger in “Basement” is the standout of the chapter and leads brilliantly into the next chapter, the incredible “That Day.”


Chapter 86: That Day.

5 stars
Coming into this chapter, I was expecting the full explanation of the world of Attack on Titan.
I not only got that but also my favourite chapter of the entire manga so far.
“That Day” is an absolutely incredible chapter and I cannot wait to see it animated when the second half of the season three anime airs in April.
This chapter has one of the best cases of world building I have ever seen, with Grisha’s notes revealing who is actually behind everything in the series.
It is revealed that over a thousand years ago a woman named Ymir Fritz supposedly made a deal with the devil and became the first Titan Shifter.
After she died, her powers were transferred into nine people, creating the nine Titan Shifters who built the empire of Eldia.
Centuries later, Eldia was overthrown by the nation of Marley who oppressed the remaining Eldians as punishment for years of genocide under them.
Some Eldians fled to the island of Paradis, under King Fritz, where the walls were created with the Founding Titan power and everyone’s memories were wiped.
It is also stated the reason Marley sent its Warriors to attack Paradis was because of the large amount of fossil fuels there and to retake the Founding Titan.
This one piece of exposition takes the previously small world of Attack on Titan and expands it exponentially.
It opens up so many interesting opportunities and questions.
Did Ymir really make a deal with the devil, how is she connected to the Ymir we know, along with Marley are there any other countries and cultures out there?
These are all interesting questions and I cannot wait for them to be answered.
It is also brilliant with how Grisha’s backstory ties into the explanation, with the persecution he faces at the hands of Marley being very similar to the ways the Nazis treated Jewish people before the Holocaust, a comparison Isayama is obviously trying to make.
Watching Grisha be motivated to begin his stand against Marley because of the violent death of his sister and the completely brainwashed fear his father presents was amazing for him character development wise, and all of this in one chapter.
This led to Grisha joining the Eldia Restorationists where he met Dina Fritz, a descendant of the royal family.
They eventually married and, in a brilliant twist, are revealed to have had a son who is Zeke, which makes him and Eren half-brothers.
Still, while this was a great twist, I do wish it had been revealed earlier when Eren and Zeke first met in Chapter 83 because we do not get a reaction from Eren to them having the same father.
That said, I still like the twist and the one that follows it when Zeke betrays his parents to the Marley government after Grisha tries to turn him into one of Marley’s warriors as a double agent.
This adds new meaning to Zeke’s first meeting with Eren when he tells him Grisha has brainwashed him, likely believing his father tried to do the same thing to him.
The chapter can end before more details about Grisha’s past can be revealed but what we got and how this tied into the explanation of what was outside the walls was nothing short of brilliant.
I had fears that the reveal of what was outside the walls would not live up to expectations but those fears were baseless because this reveal was everything I hoped for and more.
It had fantastic world building, fit in with the themes, and had great character development for Grisha to go along with this.
Chapter 86 “That Day” is my favourite chapter of Attack on Titan so far.

Overlord: A+ B Movie that has to be Seen in Theaters.

4 stars
The concept of Nazi zombies has been around for some time so it is a wonder this crazy idea has never given a big budget action film to go along with it until now.
When I saw the trailers for Overlord I was very intrigued by it but I was not expecting it to be a must-see film in theaters.
However, it definitely is.
This is not because Overlord is a perfect film but because it is a perfect B Movie, only with a bigger budget.
The plot of Overlord centers around a group of soldiers who are dropped into Nazi occupied France the night before D-Day to destroy a radio tower so the troops will be able to invade.
However, upon arriving, they discover the Nazis are using villagers for inhumane experiments that bring the dead back to life and set out to stop them.
I was on the edge of my seat the entire time when watching this film and it never got dull.
Yes, the characters are pretty cliche with nothing more than basic depth and the plot goes pretty much how you expect, but this works because the film knows what is is.

Even though the main character Boyce, played by Jovan Adepo, and various other characters like Ford, Wyatt Russel, are fairly generic, they still work for this kind of film.

Overlord never tries to create meaningful characters or go anywhere deep because that is not what it is trying to do.
I think the director, Julius Avery, was trying to create a fun, edge of your seat action movie first and he definitely succeeded.
If there were any legitimate flaws I had with the movie it would be that there are a few plot holes in the story, one of which really drew me out of the moment.
However, other than this, the film is great.
The opening scene alone is reason enough to see this movie because it is well-shot, has brilliant sound design and is exploding with tension.

overlord opening scene
The opening scene of Overlord is the best of film by far and gives a Saving Private Ryan  feeling to the film until the zombies show up.

While Overlord never does meet the extreme heights of this opening sequence the rest of the film is still edge of your seat exciting.
It was rumored that Overlord was a Cloverfield continuation because of J.J Abrams’ involvement but this is false, which is good because this film stands better on its own.
I cannot stress how highly I suggest seeing this movie in theaters.
I saw Overlord on Xtremescreen at Hoyts and it made the experience all the more memorable through how it heightened the action and already fantastic sound design.
Another reason I suggest seeing this in theaters is because the film deserves it.
Overlord looks to be a flop in terms of Box Office as not many people are going to see it, which is a shame because of how fun it is to watch.
Just to be clear, even though I am singing praises for this movie, Overlord is not a perfect film.
The characters are cliche and the plot does not go anywhere special.
However, as a B Movie that knows what is it, Overlord is fantastic for a fun time at the movies.

The Walking Dead Issue 185, On Guard Review: The Calm Before the Inevitable Storm.

3 and a half stars
When Rick got his hand cut off by the Governor all the way back in the prison arc, I never thought there would be a twist where he gained the magical ability to grow it back.
However, in the latest issue of The Walking Dead, “On Guard”, Rick obtained this ability because while talking with Dwight his hand magically grew back!
Okay, time to get serious now.
In all honesty Rick’s hand appearing to have grown back was nothing more than a funny mistake.
That said though, the scene where this happened was anything but funny, with Rick confronting Dwight about his actions throughout “On Guard.”
This moment marked the culmination of Dwight’s devious actions, which began right from the last issue’s cliffhanger, where Dwight was angered by Rick’s refusal to attempt a take over of the Commonwealth.
Here, in the beginning of the issue, Rick logically points out to Dwight why they could never take the Commonwealth by force and tells him to get out.
After this, Dwight attacks some soldiers to gauge the citizens’ reaction and is thrown in jail.
This leads to the ending scene of the issue where Rick confronts Dwight (and we are given that funny mistake of Rick’s regrown hand), with him again logically pointing out why Dwight is wrong.
I do not think Dwight will listen though, despite how much I hate where his character is going.
He was such an amazing character in the Whisperer Arc, however, after Sherry’s death, he has been in a slow downward spiral.
I do not know if Robert Kirkman is trying to make him unlikable but if he is not then he really needs to improve on Dwight’s character.
Still, Dwight’s antics did lead to be best part of the issue, which was the cliffhanger.
In the final scene, after Rick once again points out how dangerous Dwight’s plan is, he is confronted by Mercer who overheard the conversation.
Mercer calls Rick “the leader the Commonwealth needs” in a fantastic bit of development from him that shows just how impressed he has become of Rick and his people during the brief time they have known each other.
This also has massive implications for the next chapter because, based on the chapter, it looks like someone will try to assassinate Pamela with Rick getting in the way so maybe this is an expansion of Mercer’s endorsement of Rick.
That said, I do not think Mercer will be the one aiming the gun at Pamela because he has stated previously he has never wanted her dead so I have no idea who the gunman will be.
The rest of “On Guard” was pretty decent, with both good and bad moments.
For example, the scene where Rick breaks down into tears over how much Andrea would have loved the Commonwealth was a great scene.
However, the one where Sophia complained to Carl about how she has never had sex had a lot of cringe to it and I really hope it is not setting up some kind of love triangle between them and Lydia.
Although, there were plenty of good and bad moments in this issue I am eagerly looking forward to the next one.
Multiple things are hinting at this issue, “The Powder Keg,” being a big turning point, from its title, to the cover, to even a scene between Magna and Yumiko in “On Guard.”
In a moment between the two Magna comments, “when things are peaceful, that’s all just killing time between the horror.”
And if that is not an ominous hint towards next issue then I do not know what is.

Top 15 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Characters

Warning: Contains Spoilers!

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a fantastic anime that many consider to be one of the best.
Based off the manga by Hiromi Arakawa, the series is full of funny, likeable and often amazing characters who really stuck with me.
So now I’m going to count down my top 15 favourites.
A few honorable mentions go out to characters who just missed out like Maes Hughes, Father, Alex Louis Armstrong, Tim Marcoh and Mei Chang.
So now, let’ get into the countdown.

15. Winry Rockbell
Winry Rockbell

Winry Rockbell is the childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse, and your go to girl on anything automail related.
She may not have that big of a role to the overall plot but she is still a key character in the Elric Brothers’ lives, especially Ed.
Her relationship with him is built up well and they have great chemistry, making their awkward interactions fun to watch.
She is also a very funny character when it comes to her obsession with automail, with her often going full on fan girl over it or attacking Ed whenever he damages his.
Winry’s best moments in the series, however, comes from her interactions with Scar and how she comes to terms with accepting help from her parents’ murderer.
She does not forgive Scar but helps him because it was what her parents would have wanted, showing true strength.
Unfortunately, this plot line did not get resolved but it was still a standout moment for her.
Winry is a very likeable character with a lot of great moments, even if she does not have much relevance plot wise.

14. Solf J. Kimblee
Solf J. Kimblee

I am going to be honest and say that for most of the series I did not like Solf J. Kimblee as a character.
He was a complete psychopath who relished in his violence but also had kind of an interesting moral code.
The problem for me is that, for whatever reason, I found him to be kind of shallow and did not see much of a reason for him to be there in the story, as his part could easily have been taking over by any of the homunculi.
However, this all changed in the 61st episode, one of the last episodes of the anime, “He Who Would Swallow God”, where Kimblee had a complete turn around moment for me character wise.
After being eaten by Pride in a previous episode, Kimblee’s soul returns to help Ed defeat him.
He did this not for vengeance or a change of heart but because he was genuinely disgusted by Pride’s lowering himself by attempting to possess Ed’s body, which made him unworthy of winning in Kimblee’s mind.
This final action by Kimblee made me see him in a brand new light and I certainly appreciated him a lot more.
It added new layers to him by showing his warped sense of honor as he stops Pride from possessing Ed and then departs with a wave of his hat.

13. Lan Fan
Lan Fan

Bodyguard to Ling Yao, Lan Fan is a capable warrior intent on serving her prince to the bitter end.
Like Winry, Lan Fan was not a character who had that much importance to the overall story but she certainly made an impression on me through her determination and spirit.
When she and Ling face off against Wrath and Gluttony she begs Ling to leave her behind after she is injured.
When he refuses, she cuts off her own arm to use as a distraction for them to escape.
The inner strength she showed to make this sacrifice really stuck out to me and she continued to shine when she reappeared in the final stages of the anime to help battle the homunculi, this time with an automail arm.
Even after losing her grandfather Fu, Lan Fan continues to fight for her prince and what she believes is right.
All of this makes her stand out as a likeable and strong willed character, making her one of the best side characters the show has to offer.

12. Selim Bradley / Pride

This creepy kid probably stands as one of the most dangerous children in anime (that is if you can even consider him a child since he is a homunculus).
However, you would not know it from his first scene where Selim Bradley seems to be nothing but an ordinary boy.
The first time he appeared I actually felt sorry for him because I wondered what he would think when he learnt that his father, King Bradley, was a homunculus.
So, imagine my shock when, in the best twist of the series, Selim was revealed to be the homunculus Pride, the first one created by Father.
From here he goes from cute kid to creepy kid and one of the most dangerous of the homunculi.
What I like about Pride is how scary he can be and yet be so capable of pulling off the facade of an innocent child.
Better yet was his humane moments when it is revealed that despite his cruel nature he has come to love his fake family.
This all leads into a great ending for Selim when, after being defeated by Ed and Kimblee, he reverts to a fetus and is later seen being raised by his adopted mother, this time as the innocent boy he always pretended to be.
Pride was both the scariest homunculi and one of the best of them.

11. Olivier Mira Armstrong

Do not mess with Oliver Armstrong if have any intention of living a long life.
Introduced about half way through the anime, Olivier quickly became a standout character through her commanding personality.
Olivier is the leader of the men at Briggs and, after just a few episodes, it became very clear why they followed her.
She is not only commanding but also very smart through how she deals with her enemies.
Lieutenant General Raven can attest to that.
The more we saw of Olivier the more I found myself wanting to know more about her and how she became the leader of Briggs.
Unfortunately, we did not get much of a backstory on her but this does not change the fact that she is still a great character with a lot of likability.
Her relationship with her brother Alex, who just missed out on this list, also did a lot for her because she put their antagonism aside for the good of her country.
Olivier is right up there with great military leaders in anime like Commander Erwin from Attack on Titan. 

10. Fuhrer King Bradley / Wrath

One of the main villains of the series and the youngest of the homunculi, despite his looks, Fuhrer King Bradley, or Wrath, is a force to be reckoned with.
Personally, I was not a fan of him when he first showed up because it was made incredibly obvious in the first episode that he would turn out to be a villain so there was no suspense to this reveal.
Also, who would have thought that someone called the Fuhrer would turn out to be a bad guy? (Note the sarcasm.)
However, Wrath quickly grew on me as a man to be feared with immense power and a compelling story.
Wrath was raised to become the leader of his country to further Father’s plans and even though he is aware he is being used he does not care, with his sole purpose being to sate the immense anger he feels.
There is some humanity in him though because he takes pride in the fact that, even with every single aspect of his life has been planned, he was allowed to choose his wife.
Wrath is also probably one of the most powerful characters of the series, with him being able to take down a tank single-handed.
He also had, in my opinion, the best death of the series.
Throughout Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Wrath constantly states his disdain for the idea of a god but, in the end, he is miraculously beaten by Scar in what could be considered an act of god.
It was an ironic death that suited him perfectly, especially with his final moments.
Wrath is one of the most threatening characters of the series

9. Alphonse Elric
Alphonse Elric

The secondary protagonist of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Alphonse Elric is the good natured younger brother of Ed, who lost his entire body when he and Ed attempted to bring their mother back using the forbidden act of human transmutation.
From this, Al and Ed attempt to find a way to get their original bodies back, which is the driving force of the series.
Al is generally more level headed than his older brother, presenting a calm spirit inside the suit of armor his soul has been placed in.
He is also a confident fighter, being stronger than Ed sometimes.
However, Al is not without his personal weaknesses, most notably his fear that he is just a copy of the real Al his brother created.
This creates some great character development moments for him that make him all the more likeable.
He even has some funny moments as well, especially when he is paired with Ed.
But it is his constant drive to get his real body back and escape his armored shell  of a body that produces the strongest feelings for him.
This is because of his constant feelings of isolation and impending doom with the body he is in.
Al’s struggle is one of the most touching of the series and makes him a great character.

8. Envy

I hate Envy.
they are a detestable excuse of a creature who I was constantly hoping would get what was coming to them.
The reason they are number eight on my favourite characters list though, is because they are supposed to be hated.
Envy is, without a doubt in my mind, the most evil of the homunculi.
Sure, Father wanted to kill millions of people but this was so he could achieve his goal.
Envy would do this for fun and enjoy every second of it.
This is the one who boasted about killing a man while they had shape-shifted into the form of his wife.
However, while being completely unlikable, Envy is still fun to watch through how their often child-like personality mixes with their sadistic one.
It makes them a very entertaining character.
Another thing I really like about Envy is their death, which reveals they hates humans so much because they are jealous of them.
This revelation results in Envy breaking down into tears, before removing their philosopher’s stone, killing themselves.
This was a very sad ending for Envy and resulted in much of the anime’s audience feeling sorry for them.
I personally could not after all they had done, but the fact that a lot the audience did feel sorry for such a detestable creature in their final moments show just how great of a character Envy is.

7. Ling Yao
Lin Yao

Ling Yao is the twelfth prince of Xing, who seeks out the Elric brothers in a mission to gain immortality to become emperor of his country.
He does not want to do this for power though but for his people because Ling is a good man with the determination to do right by his people.
This does not stop him from getting involved in Amestris’ problems, however. because he and his bodyguards are drawn into the battle with the homunculi.
Ling’s confrontation with them is much more personal though because it leads to him being taken over by the homunculus Greed.
What follows is an unexpected yet powerful friendship between the two that made me care for both characters.
Ling seems like a mainly comedic character when we first meet him but when things get serious so does he, showing he will fight to protect those he cares for.
This makes him a very endearing character, capable of both comedic and epic moments.
The way his story concludes, with him finally becoming emperor is much deserving and I am sure Xing is all the better for it.

6. Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye

If you want anyone to have your back in a bad situation it would definitely be Riza Hawkeye.
Fiercely loyal to anyone who gains her gratitude, Riza is an experienced soldier and an expert sharp shooter (hence the irony in her last name).
She was one of the soldiers who took part in the Ishvalalan War of Extermination, which scarred her for life both figuratively and literally.
Her horror at the genocide committed there led to her asking Roy Mustang to burn the tattoos that teach flame alchemy from her back to prevent another atrocity from occurring.
All this leads to her being very protective of Roy as a close ally and friend, defending him even when he never asked for it.
This is most apparent in her best scene when she aims her gun at Roy to stop him from killing Envy.
Not because she wants Envy to live but because she is afraid of what Roy will become if he goes through with it.
Riza ends the series as she starts it, by Roy’s side, showing an admirable amount of fierce loyalty and respect that goes both ways.
As a result she is one of the most determined characters of the anime.

5. Edward Elric
Edward Elric

The protagonist of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Edward Elric is a very enjoyable and likeable character with a great amount of strength, both action and character wise.
We see him grow from the beginning to the end of the anime through his determination to get him and his brother’s bodies back, showing him to be a very selfless character who is trying to make amends for his past mistakes.
Ed is also one of the most comedic characters of the show, constantly freaking out whenever someone calls him short.
This is a recurring gag throughout the series that shows he can be comedic as well as serious.
This seriousness is amplified through the relationships he has with his friends and family.
From his antagonistic relationship with his father, to him trying to deal with his feelings for Winry, to the guilt he feels over what happened to his brother.
All of these combine to create an emotional journey for Ed through these relationships, all of which (except for one) receive a fitting and satisfying end.
The moment when he sacrifices his alchemy to bring his brother back shows true dedication to protecting those he loves and his strength in vowing to never kill anyone, as can be seen with how he spared Pride, shows how well developed he is.
Ed is a great main character of for this anime and one I can see a lot of people getting along with if he were real (just do not make the mistake of calling him short).

4. ScarScar

Scar has one of the best arcs of the series, going from a villain to a redeemed hero over the course of the anime.
His backstory is a tragic one, with him going on a killing spree, murdering various State Alchemists after he witnesses his entire family’s murder by Kimblee.
However, it is not long before he is confronted with his crimes through Winry, whose parents he murdered, and slowly begins to transition into a redeemed hero.
It was a joy to see him transition to this point and how his arc ended, with him facing off against Wrath, the man responsible for the genocide of his people.
This resulted in the culmination of his arc when he used alchemy, the very thing he despised at the beginning of the story, to defeat Wrath, therefore embracing a part of himself that he hated.
It was also nice to see Scar go from a loner to having trusted friends such as Mei because we can see that he genuinely came to care for her during their time together.
At the end of the anime, we see Scar working with Miles to restore his people, making amends for his past wrongs.
The only thing that was missing was a scene between him and Winry to wrap up their conflict but, other than that, it was perfect.
Scar started off as a tragic character who became a heroic one in a story of redemption.

3. Roy Mustang
Roy Mustang

Roy Mustang is easily one of the most powerful characters in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, with him being ultimately responsible for defeating two of the homunculi, Lust and Envy.
However, Roy is not just a great character because of his power but also because of his likability.
He is a character with dreams, hoping to correct the mistakes of the past by becoming the next Fuhrer and making amends for the atrocities he helped commit in the Ishvalan War.
He is also prone to a few comedic moments here and there as well, specifically when he is pared with Ed and Al.
Like Ed, the relationships he has with other characters throughout the series only added to his likability, with his close connection with Riza and old friend Maes Hughes helping in this regard, especially with Hughes.
Watching Roy’s mission to avenge the death of his friend was great to see and it lead to a very powerful moment with him facing down Envy.
The look on his face at this moment is one that would scare anyone and it made perfect sense why Riza had to make sure he did not go through with killing Envy so he would not become what he hated.
Roy was a great character with a gripping revenge arc and plenty of amazing moments that defined him as one of the best characters of the anime.

2. Van Hohenheim
Van Hohenheim

When Van Hohenheim first appeared, I thought he was just an everyday, stereotypically neglectful anime dad but, as the series progressed, it became clear he was anything but.
This was a brilliant case of subversion on Hiromi Arakawa’s part.
By making Hohenheim seems like a bad father at first it only made him all the more compelling when it was revealed how kindhearted he actually was.
Hohenheim is easily the most tragic character of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, as detailed by the fantastic episode 40, “The Dwarf in the Flask.”
However, he does not let this tragedy define him and goes on to avenge not only what happened to him but to everyone in his country who were murdered for him and Father’s immortality.
Hohenheim is such a great character that he even makes the clip show episode of the series good because it is one of the first episodes that hints at his past and shows his connection with his wife Trisha.
He also easily has one of the most emotional journeys of the entire anime, topped only by the character who took the number one spot.
The way he died at the end, with him visiting Trisha’ grave and reflecting on his life, had me tearing up.
I only wish he had got a goodbye scene between him and his sons, Ed and Al, because that would have made his character arc perfect.
As it stands though, Hohenheim is a fantastic character who is a lot more than he seems when he first appears.

1. Greed

Greed ghost form

I was incredibly surprised when watching the anime and I realised that Greed had become my favourite character.
Just like when Hohenheim first appeared, I originally found Greed to be very one note.
He just seemed to be an embodiment of his name without any nuance and lasted only a couple of episodes before appearing to die.
I honestly did not care for him at that point.
But then he was brought back to life, being placed in control of Ling’s body and everything changed.
From this point onwards Greed goes through some absolutely fantastic character development, becoming not only my favourite homunculi but my favourite character as well.
It is through his antagonism and then growing friendship with Ling that both we, as the audience, and Greed himself learn how much he actually cares for people.
The scene where Greed murders his friend and then Ling forces him to remember who he was, telling him he does not deserve to be called Greed, which leads to Greed screaming over his friend’s dead body in agony and grief is one of the most powerful moments of the anime.
He continues to grow more, going from an antagonist, to anti-hero, to full on hero, with him contributing greatly to the defeat of, not just Bradley, but Father as well.
This led to Greed sacrificing himself to save Ling and help defeat Father.
Watching him slowly fade from existence while he thanks Ling and Ed for teaching him that he wanted friends all along brought me to tears when I first saw it.
He even had a great impact on the other characters, with Ling most likely choosing to help Mei’s family because of Greed’s influence.
Greed’s growth from his first appearance to the end of the anime was absolutely amazing and because of this he is my favourite character of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Did Rick and Maggie get an Appropriate Send off in the Walking Dead?

The fifth episode of the ninth season of The Walking Dead, “What Comes After”, recently aired, being the final episode for Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes and Lauren Cohan’s Maggie Rhee, at least for a little while.
When I first head these two were leaving I honestly thought the show was doomed with two of its central characters (Rick being the main character) departing.
However, after viewing all five episodes of this season so far and seeing the direction it is heading, I actually think with Angela Kang as the showrunner The Walking Dead may continue to deliver a compelling narrative.
But even so, this does leave the question of whether the departures of such major characters as Rick and Maggie were done right?
Since Rick is the main character, I will start with him.
Coming into this episode I was very concerned with how he would leave the show because I thought we were going to get another Carl situation with a bad death for such an important character.
This concern was generated by the ending of the previous episode, where Rick accidentally impaled himself on some rods.
I came in feeling like I knew what was going to happen, with Rick hallucinating all of his dead friends before dying of blood loss.
However, while that first part was right, the second, thankfully, was not.
Rick does experience numerous hallucinations and all but one of them are handled expertly.
Seeing Rick interact with Shane and Hershel again was a joy to see, especially Shane because their scene together spoke a lot about how far Rick had come.
The one hallucination I did not like, however, was when Rick talked with Sasha.
This was Rick’s final hallucination and of all the characters for him to talk to during it, Sasha would have been at the bottom of my list.
She and Rick barely interacted and I do not think they were even that close so seeing Rick hallucinate her giving him this emotional pep talk made absolutely no sense.
It should have been Glenn, Lori or Carl Rick talked to, not Sasha.
Other than this though, the hallucinations were all handled well and added to the tension.
Then came Rick’s “death scene” where he blew up the bridge while he and the herd of Walkers were still on it to save his friends.
This was very emotional and if Rick had died here I would actually have been OK with it because it left a big emotional impact and served a logical purpose, unlike Carl’s death.
However, this was not the end for Rick because Jadis saved him by taking him on the helicopter with her.
And so Rick departed the show on this helicopter, with the ending song from the very first episode “Space Junk” by Wang Chung playing in a fitting end his story on the show.
This did leave me wondering what would happen to him in the future but this question was answered when I learned Andrew Lincoln would be starring in the recently announced The Walking Dead spin off movies.
When I first learned this, I laughed but, after thinking about it, I realised this could be interesting.
I will just have to wait and see the movies to know if it was a good idea to keep Rick alive for this.
Overall, Rick’s sendoff this episode was both touching and fitting, and I think they did a great job with it.
Not so much for Maggie I am afraid.
I would go as far to say that Maggie’s sendoff this episode was handled incredibly badly.
I will say I did like what happened to her in this episode, with her finally confronting Negan over Glenn’s death in a scene that, while not as good as the comics, was still very impactful.
However, there was literally nothing in the episode that would suggest this was Maggie’s last episode.
No emotional sendoff, no death, nothing.
It was like they completely forgot this was supposed to be her final episode until they had actually completed it.
Hopefully they can at least give a logical reason for her departure in the next episode.
Speaking of which, even though these two incredibly important characters have departed the show, I am still looking forward to what is to come this season.
We will be getting the full introduction of Magna and her group next episode, The Whisperers will be introduced soon, and it looks like Judith will now be taking center stage in a surprising yet welcome turn of events.
All in all, the future for The Walking Dead looks bright, even with these departures.