My Hero Academia Season Four Episode Six, An Unpleasant Talk Review: The Dark Truth.

3 and a half stars
The sixth episode of My Hero Academia‘s fourth season, “An Unpleasant Talk” sees the beginning of the formation of the plan to take down Overhaul, along with the reveal of the dark truth behind Eri.
It is a exposition heavy episode, which may not please some, but is necessary to pushing the story forward and also gives us insight into many of the characters, specifically Deku, Mirio, Nighteye and Overhaul.
Starting with the villain of this arc, the reveal of Overhaul’s cruel nature is adapted perfectly with the great image of him symbolically looming above a captured Eri, with the viles containing her blood floating around them.
This symbolic image is undoubtedly one of the series’ darkest visuals with its reveal that Overhaul is experimenting on Eri to create a drug that will remove people’s quirks.
Along with this, it really goes to show how cruel and uncaring of a person Overhaul is, as he is willing to hurt anyone, even children, if it furthers his goals.
The affect this has on Deku and Mirio is immediate as they are both instantly full of guilt upon realizing what is happening to Eri because they failed to rescue her.
The weight of the guilt they now have on their shoulders will now drive their story throughout this arc, as proven by Deku being so distracted that he cannot continue his school work properly.
Along with him and Mirio, Nighteye also has a heavy burden, refusing to use his foresight on any of the task force members he has assembled to take down Overhaul and rescue Eri.
The reasons for this are clear, based off episode four’s flashback to his fight with All Might.
Nighteye predicted his eventual gruesome death and he does not want to risk predicting any similar fate for his fellow heroes.
However, such a fate will need to be risked by these heroes if they want to save Eri.
Her situation is made abundantly clear in the post-credits scene with one of Overhaul’s minions trying to win her trust with gifts and fake affection.
However, Eri can only think of Deku, having never experienced the kind of warm embrace that he gave her.
Thankfully, the rest of the episode is not as depressing as this because there are some light hearted moments towards the beginning.
Moments such as Tsuyu and Ochako saying how cute Fat Gum is, only for him to offer them candy, brought a smile to my face.
One bit that also made me laugh was the Beatles reference where Deku, Ochako, Tsuyu, and Kirishima are shown walking across the street just like the band did on Abbey Road.
I wonder what brought on that reference?
In any case, “An Unpleasant Talk” is a solid episode of My Hero Academia that, while mostly exposition, sets up the goals and fears of its characters very well.

My Hero Academia Season Four Episode Five, Let’s Go, Gutsy Red Riot Review: Rise of Kirishima.

4 and a half stars
I said in my Top 10 My Hero Academia Characters post that Kirishima became one of my favourite characters because of the Overhaul arc and the fifth episode of season four “Let’s Go, Gutsy Red Riot” is the start of that.
This really was Kirishima’s episode, building up his development for this arc nicely with a great starting point as we see him begin his work study with the hero Fat Gum and Tamaki.
Speaking of these two, they are also two characters who I am excited to see more of as they grow as characters and use their quirks.
Fat Gum’s quirk is absorption, which allows him to entrap enemies, and Tamaki’s quirk is manifest, which allows him to take on the qualities of whatever he eats.
It is Kirishima’s quirk that takes center stage this episode though, with him developing a new technique Unbreakable to fight a minor villain (which may be a reference to the M. Night Shyamalan film, or maybe I’m reaching).
This villain takes quirk enhancing drugs, forcing Kirishima to use his new move to protect civilians in an epic moment that was perfectly adapted from the manga.
The music and animation here are stellar and the only problem is that it is a bit distracting at how stupid the civilians are by not getting out of the way.
Although, this does not take away from Kirishima’s achievements, thankfully, with him beginning his development for the season upon remembering some advice from Bakugo.
This also goes to show just how much Bakugo has changed because he most likely would have yelled at Kirishima when they first met rather than give his friend the advise he needed.
Back to Kirishima, after Fat Gum manages to successfully capture the villain we get brief flashes to Kirishima’s backstory, which will play out in a future episode.
I also like how vague these flashes are because they will probably leave many anime only viewers wondering what they are seeing until it is officially revealed.
Along with Kirishima’s development, we also get our first look at the quirk removing bullets developed by Overhaul, which the minor villain uses to temporarily remove Tamaki’s quirk.
This bullet is revealed by Shigaraki in his meeting with Overhaul, which leads to Shigaraki agreeing to a form of partnership, though under very tense circumstances.
Less tense is the opening fight sequence where we see Ochako and Tsuyu on their work study with Nejire and the pro hero Ryukyo.
Their scene was mainly used to show what the two Class 1A students are doing and to  highlight Nejire’s quirk but it has fantastic animation in the opening fight.
It is also here that a meeting between many pro heroes led by Sir Nighteye is first brought up.
This meeting to discuss the threat Overhaul poses will appear next episode and fully unveil the disturbing truth about his quirk removing bullets.
Overall, “Let’s Go, Gutsy Red Riot” is another solid episode of My Hero Academia with a great starting point for Kirishima’s character arc.

My Hero Academia, Season Four, Episode Three, Boy Meets… Review: The Two Meetings.

3 and a half stars
“Boy Meets…” is the perfect title for My Hero Academia season four’s third episode because it is all about Deku meeting and interacting with multiple characters for the first time.
Sir Nighteye is the the most obvious meeting, with more than half the episode focusing on him and Deku’s interactions.
Their conversation and later game did a great job of emphasizing the parallels between them, with multiple similarities and differences.
Despite Nighteye not liking Deku because of how he views him as usurping Miro’s chance of inheriting One For All, they are still similar with the both of them being massive All Might fans with their own ways of showing that.
Nighteye looks past these similarities, though, still not believing Deku to be worthy of One For All and tests him by having Deku try to defeat his quirk foresight, which allows him to accurately predict his decisions for an hour.
Deku both fails and succeeds in the test, failing to grab the stamp Nighteye is holding but succeeding in making sure he does not damage all of Nighteye’s All Might merchandise.
This shows that Deku is able to multitask in his fighting, proving himself to Nighteye, even if he was planning to accept him no matter what.
However, Nighteye’s intentions in accepting Deku are not entirely pure because he hopes to convince him to give up One For All to Mirio.
This meeting sets up both Deku and Nighteye very well for their arcs in this storyline.
What is by far the most exciting scene, though, is Deku’s second meeting of the episode with Eri and Overhaul in the after credits scene.
I am overjoyed to see Eri make her appearance in the series because she is one of my favourite characters and the centerpiece of the season.
Deku’s meeting with her and Overhaul also gets the ball rolling for the big story of the arc so I cannot wait to see this first meeting truly play out next episode.
Aside from these two well done first meetings, the rest of “Boy Meets…” is more decent setup that is actually anime original.
The scene of Aizawa informing Uraraka and Tsuyu that Nejire wants to talk to them, and telling Kirishima that Amajiki wants to meet with him, is probably added to provide a starting point for where we will see these characters in subsequent episodes.
Most interesting, though, is the moment Aizawa tells Tokoyami that the Number Three Pro Hero, Hawks, has offered him an internship.
For those of you expecting to see the two working together, I would not get your hopes up.
This is because Hawks does not have a role in the arcs season four will be covering and will not get a big part in the story until the fifth season.
As a result, this mention of Hawks is most likely just fan service to hype up his future appearance.
Although, who knows?
Maybe we could get an anime only scene of Hawks and Tokoyami’s internship this season.
That would be interesting.
Overall, “Boy Meets…” is a good setup episode for My Hero Academia that both builds up Nighteye’s character arc and gets the ball rolling with Overhaul and Eri’s role in the story through them meeting Deku.
It will be great to see the first interaction Deku and Mirio have with Overhaul and Eri in the next episode.

Weathering With You Review: A Beautiful Anime, Even if it is a Bit too Similar to Your Name.

4 and a half stars
After seeing Makoto Shinkai’s fantastic Your Name, I immediately bought a ticket to his next film Weathering With You, which I had the pleasure of watching last night.
And, yes, I said pleasure because Weathering With You is another great film from Shinkai.
While I did not feel as emotionally involved as I did when watching Your Name, I still cannot deny that Weathering With You is a mesmerizing film with amazing animation, relatable characters, and an intriguing story.

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Mokoto Shinkai has done it again, delivering another great anime film with Weathering With You. 

The story follows Hodaka Morishima (Kotara Daigo), a high school student who runs away to live in Tokyo, which is experiencing an unusually long sequence of rainfall and storms.
It is there that he meets Hina Amano (Nana Mori), a girl with the power to make the sun come out through prayer.
What follows is a moving romance between the pair as they work together to bring sunshine to the people of Tokyo.
The first thing I have to praise about Weathering With You is, of course, its incredible animation.
Shinkai is an absolute artist when it comes to animating his films and Weathering With You is no exception, having numerous jaw dropping shots of animation.
The way the rain and sun look in this anime is just gorgeous, which serves to bring the audience into the story a lot more.

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The animation of Weathering With You is fantastic and needs to be seen in theaters.

As for the story itself, the romance of Hodaka and Hina being wrapped up in this supernatural plot provides numerous interesting and moral questions about climate change that I found to be quite compelling.
The movie is also pretty funny as well, with probably my favourite gag being the cat Rain’s constant judgmental looks.
The side characters of the film are also likeable and you understand where a lot of them are coming from.
For example, a man that Hodaka meets upon arriving in Tokyo, named Keisuke Suga (Shun Oguri), had an interesting motivation by the film’s third act that, while never outright stated, was heavily implied, making his involvement more interesting.

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The implied nature of Suga’s arc in the third act made his role in the story work perfectly.

The music is also great with the song “Grand Escape”, which played in the trailer, being particularly special.
There are even appear a few Your Name cameos for fans of that film as well.
Speaking of Your Name, though, this is where I have a problem with Weathering With You because it follows a lot of the same story beats as Shinkai’s previous film.
I remember sitting in the theater and thinking, this is just like Your Name!
This did not ruin the experience but it was pretty noticeable by the film’s third act and ending.
Still, I found Weathering With You to be another great Shinkai film, and is one I would highly suggest watching in theaters so you can see the gorgeous animation on the big screen.
It is my favourite animated film of the year so far.

Your Name Review: The Most Gorgeous Animated Film I Have Ever Seen.

5 stars
When I reviewed A Silent Voice a few weeks ago, I said that it was probably my favourite anime.
Well, after seeing Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name, I can now say it has some serious competition for that title.
Like A Silent Voice, I had heard a lot about Your Name before I finally watched it.
I knew it was a body swap anime with romance but that is all I knew about it.
And you know what?
I am so glad that I did not know anything else about it because Your Name absolutely blew me away with its brilliant story twists.

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The shocking twists and turns in Your Name goes beyond its simple sounding, body swap story, and I love that.

This was surprising to me because, from what I heard of the plot, I thought I would find the anime a little too sappy and cliche for my tastes.
Thankfully, this was far from the case.
The anime follows two high schoolers, Mitsuha Miyamizu (Mone Kamishiraishi) who lives in the small town of Itomori, and Taki Tachibana (Ryunosuke Kamiki) who loves in Tokyo.
Both lead normal lives until the two begin to mysteriously switch bodies every so often.
As they struggle to deal with this strange situation, they gradually learn more about one another and start to develop feelings for each other.
And that is all I will say about the film because, as I said, I love the direction the story takes and I do not want to spoil it for you.
The twists are engaging and add so much tension to the story, which is supported by the buildup of Mitsuha and Taki’s relationship.
I do not often enjoy romance films but this one was so moving I just could not help but get invested.
There were quite a few times towards the anime’s ending that I ended up crying.

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You will probably find yourself shedding tears a lot in Your Name‘s third act.

I also laughed a lot too, and I do not think there is a single joke that does not land.
One of the things I find interesting about Your Name is the Japanese elements that I missed on the first viewing, like the Red String of Fate.
When I researched this it made the themes of the film even more engaging.
Along with this, and the engaging story and romance, one of the big things that stuck out about Your Name to me was its absolutely gorgeous animation.
My jaw dropped multiple times in the first few minutes because I was astonished at how beautiful it all looked.
From viewing this film, and looking up his prior works, it is clear that Shinkai is an artist when it comes to animating his films.
With its beautiful animation, great story telling, and investing romance, Your Name is another anime film that should have been nominated for an Oscar, however, (aggravatingly but predictably) it was denied this.

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The fact that Your Name did not get nominated for its animation alone is a crime in my mind.

One interesting thing to note, though, is that Shinkai did not want Your Name to win an Oscar and actually advised people to stop watching it.
This is because the film is “incomplete” according to him since they ran out of money.
But, I think Shinkai is being too hard on himself.
From what I hear about what was supposed to be in the finished product, I actually think Your Name works better without these scenes, for the most part.
The one thing about the film that I think could have been done better is the relationship between Mitsuha and her father, which does not get a resolution.
However, the rest of the movie is so engaging and moving that it overshadows this one issue by a wide margin.
Want to know how much I loved Your Name?
I loved it so much that, after finishing it, I immediately bought a ticket to see Shinkai’s next film Weathering With You, which I will be seeing on August 22.
Your Name is a fantastic anime film.
It has jaw dropping animation, a thrilling story, and a romance that will make you tear up by the end.

Top 20 Attack on Titan Episodes as of Season Three – 10-1.

10. To You in 2000 Years: The Fall of Shiganshina, Part One – Season One, Episode One.

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Attack on Titan has one of the greatest first episodes ever with “To You in 2000 Years.”
There is a lot of speculation about what this ambiguous title means, especially with recent events in the anime and manga, and I am sure that we will only get a full understanding of it once the series finally ends.
Aside from the interesting implications of the title, “To You in 2000 Years” also perfectly introduces the viewer to the series, giving them an idea of what to expect.
The episode has no big exposition dump and, yet, it brilliantly manages to inform the audience of its setting in its allocated runtime.
The chilling opening alone, tells us everything we need to know,, showing that humanity is hiding behind huge walls to escape from cannibalistic, naked giants, and use steampunk weaponry to fight them, only for a massive Titan to show up and destroy their temporary peace.
As the episode goes on, building up to this Colossal Titan’s arrival, anticipation and dread is grown in the viewer by the Titans only being referred to as “them.”
We are also introduced to our main trio of Eren, Mikasa and Armin, and get an idea of their personalities, and the first mention of the basement from Grisha.
Then everything goes to hell with the Colossal Titan’s arrival and destruction of the gate. In the final, horrifying moments, amplified by the music, we witness Eren’s desperate attempt and failure to save his mother as she eaten by the Smiling Titan right in front of him.
“To You in 2000 Years” perfectly sets the viewers up for what to expect when watching Attack on Titan; horrifying deaths, great action and music, and one amazing intro song in “Guren no Yumiya.”

9. Perfect Game – Season Three, Episode 16.

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I am honestly surprised I have not mentioned any episode from Season Three Part Two yet.
It is my favourite arc of the series so far but I have not put any of its episodes on the list until now.
That said though, you can now expect to see a lot of them starting with “Perfect Game”, which is easily one of the most horrifying episodes of season three.
Largely featuring the attack from the Beast Titan, we are shown just how much of a threat he is with him throwing crushed rocks to rip the remaining members of the Survey Corps to shreds.
This moment is a clear case of the anime rising above the manga in terms of quality.
The shot where the rocks crash into the mini-town, blood shooting up from wherever they hit, followed by the agonized screams of Erwin’s soldiers is horrifying.
Speaking of Erwin, I would like to applaud his final piece of character development delivered in this episode.
Erwin has the perfect character arc.
At the beginning of the series we thought he was a soldier dedicated to saving humanity no matter what, only to learn in the Uprising Arc that he had selfish reasons for fighting, and this idea of a  dedicated soldier he presented was a facade.
This brings us to “Perfect Game”, where Erwin throws away his selfish dream, giving up all hope of seeing the basement so he can die finally becoming what he always pretended to be: a soldier who puts humanity first.
I would not change Erwin’s character arc one bit.
As for the rest of the episode, it features Eren and the others’ attempted attack on Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan.
This is where my issue for the episode lies in its poor CGI for the Colossal Titan.
Otherwise, “Perfect Game” is an amazing episode, which shows off Erwin’s flawless character arc.

8. Scream – Season Two, Episode 12.

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The season two finale “Scream” was the first time I was able to fully relate to Eren.
Prior to this, I found it impossible to do so due to how angsty he was.
“Scream” changed this by delivering an emotionally devastating scene for Eren that had me tearing up.
This scene was the death of Hannes and Eren’s gut wrenching reaction as he breaks down into a fit of hysteria, laughing, crying and shouting at the cruelness of the world.
Yuki Kaiji does a fantastic job in this moment, and I even heard he hurt his voice while performing it.
Then there is Mikasa, whose supportive words to Eren are moving, and work as the perfect resolution for the setup about her old scarf in the season one premiere “Beast Titan.”
Granted, I think this scene was made romantic when it actually was not supposed to be but it still works.
As for Hannes, his tragic character arc is perfectly done.
After living with the guilt of letting Eren’s mother die by the Smiling Titan in the series’ first episode, he finds the resolve to fight and redeem himself by attempting to kill that same Titan.
Sadly, it is not to be because Hannes is eaten right in front of Eren’s eyes in a mirroring of Carla’s death, prompting Eren’s traumatized reaction.
However, this does lead to Eren accessing the Founding Titan’s powers for the first time, a moment that becomes even more impactful after the events of season three.
Many other characters get to shine as well with Historia getting an awesome moment to the song “Barricades”, and Ymir deciding to go with Reiner and Bertholdt in what is unfortunately her last scene.
The final minutes of “Scream” gives us conformation that Titans have been humans the entire time, and also our first look at the Beast Titan’s user, Zeke.
This, combined with Erwin’s inspirational words of “this wall hiding the truth will fall”, gets the viewers hyped for season three.
“Scream” is an excellent season finale but not the best of Attack on Titan.
No, that award goes to…

7. The Other Side of the Wall – Season Three, Episode 22.

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“The Other Side of the Wall” is the best season finale of Attack on Titan so far.
Rather than the action packed finales of “Wall”, and the previously mentioned “Scream”, “The Other Side of the Wall” is more of a representation of many of the characters’ personal journeys, and it works brilliantly.
The highlight is definitely the final scene where the Scouts finally reach the ocean after three seasons of build up.
While the reactions of characters like Mikasa, Levi, Hange, Jean and others make for some heart warming and funny moments, the standouts are the very different interpretations of the ocean between Armin and Eren.
Armin’s goal for a long time has been to see the ocean and, upon seeing it, he is overjoyed at reaching his dream and gains new hope.
Eren, however, shares no such optimism, fully realizing the danger he and his friends are in.
He points out that the enemy lies across the ocean and they will never be free until they kill them all, starting the first major point of contention between him and Armin, which will be expanded on in spectacular fashion in the final season.
Eren’s bleak outlook is hinted at throughout the episode, with him flashing back to the memory of his father’s decision to kill the Reiss family, and experiencing a memory of his father seeing his sister’s corpse.
This last one is particularly symbolic in a number of ways, with the censorship of water covering the body being used to foreshadow how the ocean does not represent freedom but death, like Eren comes to realise.
Along with this, we get the reactions of those inside the walls to the truth of their world and Floch’s speech, all of which works very well.
The highlight though is still the ocean scene with its beautiful animation and complex character development.
“The Other Side of the Wall” is the greatest finale of Attack on Titan yet because of this and its amazing use of symbolism and foreshadowing throughout.

6. Wish – Season Three, Episode Seven.

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After the exposition dump episode “Sin”, with its explosive reveals and build up to an epic battle, the following episode “Wish” pays off this build up in spades.
It provides a perfect blend of more information, intense battles and fantastic character development.
This development is provided through the brilliant character arcs of Historia, Eren and Kenny, helped by the great jobs done by their voice actors Shiori Mikami, Yuki Kaji, and Kazuhiro Yamaji.
Historia’s decision not to follow in her family’s cycle of self destruction and going against her father for the first time is very inspirational.
Eren crying and telling Historia he never should have happened is a heart breaking moment.
And Kenny deciding to free Eren and just let things happen after his dream is crushed shows us exactly what kind of man he is.
All three of these arcs are fantastic and helped by the brilliant use of music, specifically the OSTs “Zero Eclipse” and “K21”.
“Zero Eclipse” is played when Historia decides to live for herself and, if you listen to the lyrics, it sounds like a love song from Ymir to Historia, almost as if Ymir is cheering her on from beyond the grave.
Then there is “K21”, played when Kenny fights Levi, where the rap lyrics actually state Kenny’s entire motivation; to see if he can become a better man by becoming the Founding Titan.
These OSTs make the scenes they are in a lot more powerful.
Along with this, the exposition is well handled and the action is exhilarating.
A one on one fight between Levi and Kenny, that is not in the manga, is wisely added here, adding more excitement.
Overall, “Wish” is a fantastic episode with great action and OSTs, but the feature that makes it so great is the characters’ amazing development.

5. Hero – Season Three, Episode 17.

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Me putting “Hero” at number five probably comes as a surprise.
The reason I think this is because of how much the episode is applauded by fans.
It is both the highest rated Attack on Titan episode on IMDB and the highest rated episode on IMDB ever.
This fact may have caused some people to expect its placement at number one and not number five.
To be clear, I think that “Hero” is an almost flawless episode.
I just like the ones I ranked above it more because of what they did for the overall story.
“Hero” is an action driven episode but one that delivers what is, without a doubt in my mind, the best action in all of Attack on Titan. 
Levi’s fight against Zeke is absolutely stunning.
It is well built up and the payoff is amazing with its animation, music and voice acting.
I really have to give props to Zeke’s voice actor Takehito Koyasu, who pulls off the agonized screams of the Beast Titan’s user in such a satisfying way.
The moment Zeke is saved by the Cart Titan is one brimming with despair, again due to the amazing music and voice acting.
Then there is the final battle of the episode, with Armin and Eren facing off against Bertholdt, and Mikasa, Jean, Connie, Sasha and Hange facing Reiner.
What follows is a devastating battle of sacrifice as Armin gives up his life to buy time for Eren, showing his conviction in saving humanity despite how it may cost him his dream of seeing the ocean.
Marina Inoue does an amazing job here as usual.
Back to the fight with Reiner, Hange’s return (minus one eye) is a cheer worthy moment that allows Mikasa to turn the tables on Reiner.
Accompanying both these epic moments is another great OST, “SymphonicSuite Part 2-2nd”, which lets the audience feel the full magnitude of what happens.
The following scene, which sees Eren take out the Colossal Titan thanks to Armin’s plan is a truly amazing moment, highlighted by the lack of music.
With Bertholdt defeated, Eren lands next to the burned body of Armin and declares he was always a hero.
Never truer a word has been spoken in this anime.
My one gripe with the episode is (you guessed it) the CGI Colossal Titan, which looks particularly jarring when it cuts from it to a regular image of it, which actually looks good.
Other than this, “Hero” is a flawless episode and I can see why many people consider it their favourite.
While you might be surprised that “Hero” comes in as my fifth favourite episode, I guarantee you that you will be surprised at what tops it.

4. Children – Season Two, Episode 10.

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Surprise!
I know, a lot of you probably did not expect “Children” to end up coming in at number four above “Hero.”
Not many people actually talk about “Children” and I think this is a shame because it is one of the underrated episodes of the entire series.
It is also one of the most important.
The roots of so many twists are planted with the Coordinate, Marley, Eren eating his father, Ymir’s death, the curse of Ymir, the paths, and countless other twists all being foreshadowed in this episode.
On top of this, most of this foreshadowing comes with an incredibly emotional, yet powerful, flashback to Ymir’s past.
This backstory instantly made Ymir one of my favourite characters.
Watching her go from abandoned homeless girl, to worshiped goddess, to cursed as a devil, only for her to rise again and achieve a second chance at life was amazing to see.
The moment she wakes up after eating Marcel and realizes she is free is the most powerful scene in the entirety of Attack on Titan for me.
It was the first time I teared up when watching the series, and this was helped by the amazing OST “Call of Silence.”
As for the rest of “Children”, it is just as good, providing a further look into Ymir’s mind through how she is literally willing to throw Historia’s future away if it means she can see her again, leading to Ymir capturing her.
Then there is Hannes who, at the end of the episode, declares his resolve to die if it means getting Eren back, setting up his tragic death in the season finale.
This ending also shows how far Hannes has come because he never would have been so willing as to give his life at the beginning of the anime, as proven by him abandoning Carla in “To You in 2000 Years.”
Overall though, “Children” is Ymir’s episode and it makes me sad that we never got to see more of her every time I watch it.
If I did have one criticism it would be that the episode does make a few of the twists it foreshadows quite obvious.
Although, this does still not diminish how fantastic and underrated I think “Children” is.

3. Warrior – Season Two, Episode Six.

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“I’m the Armoured Titan and he’s the Colossal Titan.”
I remember the first time I heard these words come out of Reiner’s mouth and I had to rewatch the scene a few times just to make sure I had not read the subtitles wrong.
But no, I had heard right.
“Warrior” literally delivers one of Attack on Titan‘s biggest twists in the most offhand way possible and it is amazing.
Many writers and directors try to create subversive moments in their works to surprise the audience but it rarely achieves in creating anything emotionally meaningful.
To all those struggling to write a subversive twist I would advise them to watch the Armoured and Colossal Titan twist in “Warrior.”
Most of the episode builds towards this twist and, after Reiner finally says it, the rest of the episode deals with the shocking aftermath.
Right from the opening minutes of “Warrior”, it is clear that something bad is about to happen.
The wind slowly blowing the flags and the pitter patter of rain makes for an ominous tone that is not fully explained until Reiner makes his shocking admission.
What I especially love about this twist is not only does it answer the question of who are the Colossal and Armoured Titans in an amazingly casual way but it is also used as one of the first hints we get to Reiner’s damaged mental state
We can see just how delusional Reiner has become through how he just expects Eren to come with him.
Then there is the symbolism with Reiner’s reflection being visible in a puddle, representing his split personality.
Another piece of symbolism sees the wind snapping a flag, which represents Reiner finally cracking under the pressure, causing him to decide to transform, sparking the incredibly intense final moments of the episode.
As Reiner tries to attack Eren, Mikasa intervenes, only for her attacks to give Reiner and Bertholdt the means to transform, which they do in explosive fashion to the incredible OST “YouSeeBIGGIRL/T:T.”
In the chaos and confusion, Reiner grabs Eren who begins to cry, reminiscing on the friendship he thought he had with the two traitors, providing me with the first moment I ever sympathized with him.
However, he pushes this pain aside, resorting to rage and transforming into his Titan, throwing a punch at the Armoured Titan and bringing an end to this explosive episode with an explosive cliffhanger.
“Warrior” is an incredible episode and I will always remember it for its amazingly subversive way of delivering a twist.
It was my favourite Attack on Titan episode in my first list, until the top 2 episodes came to dethrone it in season three part 2.

2. Midnight Sun – Season Three, Episode 18.

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Choosing between my top two favourite episodes of Attack on Titan was incredibly difficult.
I had to nitpick to decide which episode would come in at number one and number two.
And, at the end of the day, I chose “Midnight Sun” as my second favourite episode.
Midnight Sun is, without a doubt, the most emotional episode of Attack on Titan so far.
I cried twice the first time I watched it, and this was even after I had already read the manga.
I knew what was coming but this episode still got to me.
It is that good.
Picking up after the loss of Armin and Erwin in previous episodes, “Midnight Sun” reveals that both of them are still barely alive.
However, more importantly, it also presents the other characters with the opportunity to only save one of them.
The decision of who should have eaten Bertholdt and inherited his Colossal Titan is one that divides fans to this day.
Both are incredible characters that are deserving of getting the injection and surviving.
This is pointed out by both sides of the argument, with Levi, Hange and Floch trying to save Erwin, and Eren and Mikasa trying to save Armin.
It eventually comes to blows, paying off the incredible teaser that was at the end of “Night of the Battle to Retake the Wall”, and Levi eventually wins in the debate, going to inject Erwin.
What follows is an emotional scene of Levi flashing back to events with Erwin, Armin, and Kenny.
Deciding that Erwin has suffered enough and deserves peace, Levi instead injects Armin who eats a screaming Bertholdt.
Erwin later passes on peacefully.
The deaths of Erwin and Bertholdt are hard hitting to say the least.
I said earlier that I believe Erwin has the perfect character arc so I find it fitting that he dies here in such an emotional way.
But, Erwin and Bertholdt are not the only deaths in this episode because it is also confirmed that Moblit sacrificed himself to save Hange.
Moblit may have been a minor character compared to Erwin and Bertholdt but he was still quite likeable, and his death serves as another gut punch.
A big feature that helps get all of this emotion across in “Midnight Sun” is the almost complete lack of music, which shows off the brilliant and heartbreaking voice acting when the character are desperately trying to save their friends.
Along with the emotion, there are a few great scenes that set up important future reveals as well, like the first interaction between Eren and Zeke.
The thing that made me put ’“Midnight Sun” at number two and not number one is its animation issues.
For example, there is one shot where the animators forgot to put Erwin in the shot.
These issues may be incredibly minor but they are enough to make “Midnight Sun” barely miss out on the top spot, which goes to…

1. That Day – Season Three, Episode 20.

That Day dina

“That Day” is what I believe to be the best episode of the Attack on Titan anime so far.
It was a close call between this episode and “Midnight Sun” but, in the end, That Day won because of what it did for the story as a whole.
The 20th episode of Attack on Titan‘s third season literally changes the entire direction of that story, changing the central enemy of our main characters from the Titans to humans.
Picking up after the big post-credits cliffhanger scene of “The Basement”which revealed that human civilization is thriving outside the walls, “That Day” begins the tragic backstory of Grisha Yeager and reveals the supposed origins of the Titans.
I say “supposed” because these origins are littered with propaganda so the Marleyans can make one side look better than the other to justify generations of hatred.
The story of Ymir Fritz, and the thousands of years of ethnic cleansing under her descendants, raise a lot of questions that will be incredibly interesting to see how Isayama answers.
How ever he does it though, Marley certainly have no questions because they accept the story blindly, using it to justify oppressing all Eldians and forcing them into ghettos.
This is where we met a young Grisha when he tries to make his sister, Faye, happy by showing her an airship.
Unfortunately, Grisha’s kind act leads to her murder where she is tragically fed to dogs by the disgusting Major Gross in a shocking moment.
As a result of his loss, Grisha begins to hate Marley, causing him to join the Eldia Restorationists who are led by the mysterious Owl.
It is here that Grisha meets the last descendant of the royal family, Dina Fritz, who he marries.
Que one of the massive twists of the episode when it is revealed that the son they have is actually Zeke, making the Beast Titan Eren’s half brother.
The tragedy of this only continues as Zeke eventually turns his parents and the Restorationists into Marley for how they treated him.
Tortured for information and then take to Paradis, Grisha is confronted by Gross and his subordinate Kruger once again, and forced to watch as his friends and wife are all turned into Titans, many of whom we have seen before.
Most of these Titans are the ones who attacked Eren in First Battle and, most shocking of all, Dina is the Smiling Titan.
Her promise to find Grisha no matter what she becomes is truly chilling when you think about what it leads to.
Just as Grisha is about to be fed to a Titan by Gross Kruger steps in and feds Gross to said Titan, revealing himself to be both the Owl and the Titan that Grisha will soon inherit.
And so, the climactic episode of “That Day” comes to an end.
Its multiple twists left my jaw on the floor when I first read them in the manga and are perfectly adapted, with many anime only viewers having the same reaction I did.
Not only this, but the episode has a lot of great themes and messages as well, with plenty of comments on oppression, propaganda, and human nature.
Gross talking about how most people like watching brutality while staring right at the camera might as well be Isayama screaming at the viewer, “hey, you’re messed up!”
Then there are hints at future storylines with Eren beginning to reenact Grisha’s memories as Kruger, setting up the scene from Attack Titan where Kruger will see his future memories.
The main thing I love about “That Day” though, is the way it completely changes Attack on Titan‘s story.
The anime will be a completely different beast in season four and it is all because of the twists and turns in this episode.
And that is why I consider That Day to be the best episode of Attack on Titan as of season three.

 

So, there you have it. My top 20 favourite Attack on Titan episodes. I have been considering ranking all of the episodes but will probably do that after the final season ends, and in a much more condensed way. Along with this, I also plan to do a top 15 or 20 best characters list but, since the series is near its end, I will also be waiting for that to happen before I make it.

Top 20 Attack on Titan Episodes as of Season Three – 20-11.

Back when I finished watching season two of Attack on Titan, I made a post listing off my top 10 favourite episodes of the series.
Well, after season three came to an end, I found there were so many fantastic episodes that I just had to update my list.
However, I found that a top 10 list was too short because there were still many episodes I wanted to mention.
Taking this into account, I decided to lengthen the list to a top 20 but even then it was hard because there are so many amazing episodes that I considered putting on here.
Episodes like “The Defeated” and “Wall” from season one, “Beast Titan” and “Soldier” from season two, “The Town Where Everything Began” and “Attack Titan” from season three.
These were great episodes that just barely missed out but, at the end of the day, I had to narrow it down.
With this said, here is the first part of my top 20 episodes of Attack on Titan, as of season three.
Also, I think this goes without saying but SPOILERS!!!

20. Sin – Season Three, Episode Six.

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The first episode on the list, “Sin” is the first, big information drop episode where Eren finally learns the dark truth of what happened to his father.
Chained up as a captive of Rod Reiss, Grisha’s memories are awakened from within Eren when Reiss and Historia place their hands upon him, in a scene that left many fans shocked.
Personally, I found the reveal that Eren ate his father rather predictable because it had been heavily foreshadowed in previous episodes but it still made for a great scene that would propel Eren’s character development forward.
As for the rest of “Sin”, it continues to unload exposition, proving a lot of information about Grisha, the Reiss family, Kenny, and the Ackerman family.
There is even a scene with an excrement torture device… yeah, I wish I was kidding about that too.
Anyway, all of this information builds and builds up to a climactic ending that hypes up the coming battle immeasurably.
And this cliffhanger would be more than paid off in the following episode, which we will see later in the list.
Overall, “Sin” is a well done exposition episode with plenty of exciting twists that shape the story.

19. Ruler of the Walls – Season Three, Episode Nine.

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The big battle between Rod Reiss’ gargantuan Titan and the Survey Corps begins and concludes this episode, resulting in great character moments for both Eren and Historia.
Most of “Ruler of the Walls” builds up to the battle, with the scouts preparing for much of the episode while the Garrison ineffectively tries to stop the massive Titan in its tracks.
As this is happening, we continue to see how much Historia has grown through Eren’s eyes causing him to contemplate and finally recognizes his own flaws.
I greatly appreciated the call backs to Eren’s naive nature back in season one because it showed just how far he has come.
Then the battle begins, as Reiss’ Titan finally reaches the wall in all of its disgusting CGI glory.
While I typically do not like the CGI in Attack on Titan, as can be seen by my constant complaining about the CGI Colossal Titan, I thought Reiss’ Titan was perfectly animated, with no scene looking out of place to me.
The true highlight of the episode is Historia killing her Titanised father, and finally embracing her role as the new queen.
Much like “Sin”, “Ruler of the Walls” ends on a cliffhanger that leads into an episode we will be seeing later on the list.
With a great battle, CGI, and character moments, “Ruler of the Walls” is another engaging episode.

18. First Battle: The Struggle for Trost, Part One – Season One, Episode Five.

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One thing that will become apparent as this list goes on is how different it is from my first list.
Some of the episodes will have gone up and some will have gone down.
One such episode that has fallen on subsequent views is the episode that takes the 18th spot “First Battle.”
Even so, this season one episode is still a great time that shows off the terror of the Titans and just how outmatched Eren is, despite his annoying boasting in earlier episodes.
Starting off with a well done first fight between Eren and the Colossal Titan, “First Battle” follows through with a feeling of dread as the full weight of the Titans’ eventual invasion become apparent.
People cower, embrace their loved ones, vomit, take their anger out on others; there are a wide range of emotions across the board.
The only one with any hope is Eren, and this is bolstered by his flashback to an explanation of the Titans’ weakness, giving hope to the viewer that Eren may succeed.
Only for this hope to hit a brick wall called reality when Eren’s squad is absolutely slaughtered and Eren sacrifices himself to save Armin.
Seeing the main character “die” in the fifth episode was very shocking, even though I did not like Eren at this point.
“First Battle” does a great job of showing the true threat of the Titans, along with introducing us to some central characters like Dot Pyxis.
It is what solidified Attack on Titan as an anime where anyone could die, in people’s minds.

17. Close Combat – Season Two, Episode Seven.

Close Combat

After learning the shocking truth about Reiner and Bertholdt being the Armoured and Colossal Titans, “Close Combat” shows the aftermath of this reveal with Eren struggling to fight his once close friends.
This results in a very meaningful battle where the feelings of betrayal are made abundantly clear by Eren and Armin.
Connie’s reaction is the most hard hitting though with him being concerned for Reiner and Bertholdt’s safety, unaware that they are the Titans.
The fights in this episode are fantastic, with Eren facing off against Reiner and the Scouts against Bertholdt.
Watching Eren trying to deal with his anger towards Reiner, while in a brutal brawl with him, highlighted Eren’s resolve, which is made even stronger after he uses a technique he remembers Annie using in a flashback scene.
As for the fight with the Colossal Titan, it is stunning to look at with the shot composition really showing off the massive foe the Scouts are facing.
Unfortunately, this is where my few criticisms come in because the CGI on the Colossal Titan is pretty jarring.
Granted it is not as bad as it would be in season three but it is still very noticeable.
Then there is the ending cliffhanger, which is so abrupt that it literally kills all the tension.
These two flaws stop “Close Combat” from being higher on the list but it is still a great episode with a lot of meaningful impact in its fight sequences.

16. Crushing Blow: The 57th Exterior Scouting Mission, Part Five – Season One, Episode 21.

Crushing Blow

I can distinctly remember watching this episode and screaming at the Levi Squad to get out of there as they were slaughtered by the Female Titan one by one.
The deaths of Petra, Orou, and Eld are very shocking to see, especially considering the loss of their comrade Gunther in the previous episode.
“Crushing Blow” details the consequences of Eren’s choices and how these can result in life or death for those he cares about.
Because he chose to trust his teammates over having faith in himself, they are all brutally killed before he can do anything to save them.
This hits Eren hard with his inner monologue providing great development for him as he battles the Female Titan.
The fight between the two is intense, not just because of Eren’s inner turmoil, but also because of how well choreographed and animated it is.
You can clearly see multiple different emotions and reactions on the face of both Titans, down to a twitch in the Female Titan’s eyes when she realizes she has a chance to strike Eren.
This leads to her defeating and then kidnapping him, much to Mikasa’s horror.
All of this horrifying excitement is topped off with the ending cliffhanger of Mikasa and Levi working together to go and rescue Eren.
Seeing these two put aside their differences in order to save Eren serves as more great development and does a great job building into the next episode, “The Defeated”, which sadly just missed out on making the list.
“Crushing Blow” is another intense episode, which provides shocking character deaths that result in great inner turmoil for the lead character.

15. Friends – Season Three, Episode 10.

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Whenever Attack on Titan does a backstory episode it usually ends well.
Case in point, “Friends” where we get the backstory of Kenny Ackerman.
Kenny is a minor character in the overall story, only having a central part in the Uprising Arc, but he still left a major impact.
This is because of his entertaining personality and backstory episode, which explains his motivation.
In “Friends” we see how he began to work for the Reiss family, raised Levi, and, more importantly, his titular friendship with Uri Reiss.
Through this, we eventually come to understand Kenny’s longing to understand the power that his friend possesses, and his curiosity if this power could transform him from a psychopathic killer into a compassionate person.
Watching his backstory and how he got his motivations is fascinating to watch and causes Kenny’s sacrifice at the end to make sense.
Him giving the injection to Levi would go on to have a monumental impact on the series.
In the aftermath of his death we then get Historia’s coronation, leading to the hilarious scene where she punches Levi.
The episode then cuts to one of the series’ best cliffhangers, with a tease for the Return to Shiganshina Arc as we see Reiner, Bertholdt and Zeke waiting for the Scouts to arrive in Shiganshina.
“Friends” is a great backstory episode that allows us to sympathize with one of the series’ antagonists.

14. Charge – Season Two, Episode 11.

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On my first list of my favourite Attack on Titan episodes, “Charge” ranked in at number four.
The reason for this fall to 14th place is largely because of the constant still images in the episode.
When I first watched “Charge” it was so epic that I was actually able to look past all of its animation difficulties but on subsequent rewatches it became very noticeable.
Probably the worst instance of the still images is when Armin confronts Bertholdt about Annie and all of the attacking Titans freeze while this conversation is taken place.
Other than this problems though, the episode is still stellar with many amazing moments.
There is Mikasa’s terrifying resolve to get Eren back no matter what, Bertholdt tearfully explaining his and Reiner’s guilt, Armin going down a darker path to win, and Historia vowing to stay Ymir’s ally no matter what.
The character who steals the episode though is, without a doubt, Erwin.
Every time I see him get dragged away by that Titan, only for him to scream at his soldiers to “Advance!” I get chills.
And then Erwin keeps fighting with his arm bitten off.
Easily the most bad ass character of the series.
The cliffhanger for the episode is also a shocker, with the Smiling Titan returning to bring more tragedy to the story in the season finale.
Despite its animation problems, “Charge” is a roller coaster of an episode that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

13. Pain – Season Three, Episode Two.

Pain

There are quite a few things that stick out about “Pain”, from the action, to the character development, to the music.
The thing that stuck out the most to me was easily the incredible animation.
“Pain” is, hands down, the most well animated episode in the entirety of Attack on Titan.
The opening scene with Levi fleeing from Kenny’s squad is jaw droppingly gorgeous in its construction, which lends itself to the thrilling action excellently.
The episode also serves as a good follow up to Kenny’s introduction in the season premiere “Smoke Signal” with the rivalry between him and Levi being perfectly set up; a rivalry which would only later be topped by Levi’s with Zeke.
Then there is the character development, with Armin being forced to kill someone to save Jean and having to deal with the guilt.
There is even some development for minor characters like Dimo Reeves which was much appreciated, even though it was largely shortened compared to the manga.
This development leads to the capture of the Interior Police officer Sannes, who is tortured by Levi and Hange, leading to the reveal of how deep the conspiracy goes.
As Rod Reiss is revealed to be the true king of the walls, a haunting OST, “Symphonic Suite Part 1-1st”, picks up.
This OST gives the reunion between Reiss and Historia a feeling of dreas that ends the episode on an ominous note.
If I did have one criticism of “Pain” it would be that is continues the Attack on Titan cliche of Eren getting kidnapped, a cliche the series has thankfully seemed to drop since then.
Still, “Pain” is one of the Uprising Arc’s best episodes with the greatest animation of the entire series.

12. Mercy: Assault on Stohess, Part Two – Season One, Episode 24.

Mercy

“We live in a cruel world.”
The first time I heard this line from Mikasa in the penultimate episode of Attack on Titan‘s first season I got chills.
Likewise, the rest of “Mercy” is just as great, picking up from the predictable twist of Annie being the Female Titan in the previous episode.
While this twist is disappointing in how obvious it is made, the fallout from it results in some interesting moments of self reflection for Eren as he is confronted by his unwillingness to fight Annie, despite her being their enemy.
What I like about “Mercy” is that a lot of it is anime original.
A bunch of new scenes are added that give certain scenes a lot more time to breathe than in the manga and, as a result, made them a lot better.
Seeing Jean and Armin trying to motivate Eren to transform in different ways speaks to the strengths of both their characters.
Then there is Nile’s scenes with Erwin, which highlights how much he actually cares for the civilian population.
He is immensely angered that Erwin put everyone’s lives at risk to the point that he contemplates shooting his old friend.
Finally, there is Eren’s transformation at the end of the episode.
Despite this transformation happening off screen, except for the lightening, I still consider this one of Attack on Titan‘s best transformation scenes.
It is incredibly epic with the “Attack on Titan” OST cheering Eren on as he finally finds his resolve to face Annie once and for all.
With this epic scene, and plenty of well done anime original scenes, “Mercy” is an amazing way to lead into season one’s finale.

11. Historia – Season Two, Episode Five.

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Before “Historia”, I found Christa to be one of Attack on Titan‘s most boring characters.
She was just a typical nice girl with no complexity to her.
Then I watched season two’s fifth episode and my entire perception of her was flipped on its head in the best way possible.
Because it turns out that Christa is not just a girl who is nice for the sake of it.
She is actually suicidal, with the reason for her being so nice because she wants everyone to remember her as a hero to give her life meaning, after she dies in battle.
Enter Ymir to knock some sense into her in a moving flashback scene that not only holds a lot of emotional weight but also some stellar snow animation.
The episode then cuts away from this flashback to where episode four left off, with the reveal that Ymir was a Titan Shifter the entire time.
What follows is an epic fight as Ymir fights to protect Christa and the other Scouts at Utgard Castle.
Season two really worked wonders for both Ymir and Christa.
I could not have cared less about them after season one but after “Historia” they both became characters I cared immensely about.
The episode ends with Christa revealing her true name to Ymir, Historia, and from this my OTP for the series emerged.
“Historia” is a great episode of Attack on Titan that took two characters I really did not care for beforehand and turned them into some of the most interesting and well developed characters in the series.

 

The second part of this list containing my top 10 favourite Attack on Titan episodes will be posted simultaneously with this one so you should be able to find it easily.

Attack on Titan Season Three Review: Proves Itself to be One of the Greatest Modern Anime.

5 stars
After I saw season two of Attack on Titan, I became convinced that this anime was going to be one of the the most deep and well thought out series of recent years.
Needless to say, when season three finally started last year, I was overjoyed at being proven right.
Directed by Tetsuro Araki, Attack on Titan‘s third season adapts the Uprising and Return to Shiganshina Arcs from Hajime Isayama’s original manga and does it gloriously.
Both arcs are very different in tone, the first arc being more political while the second is more action oriented, and both are fantastic.
Many people were complaining about how, in two seasons, Attack on Titan was not delivering any answers to many of the burning questions fans had.
Well, this season gave us plenty of answers, and then some, in what has to be among the best exposition sequences of all time.
The anime spent so much time building up the basement reveal, and finally shows the history of the Titans in one big episode, “That Day.”
A lot was riding on this episode so it had to deliver big time, and it somehow did that in spades.

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Grisha’s backstory in “That Day” is the perfect way to do an exposition episode.

“That Day” is basically one big exposition dump and yet it is one of my favourite, if not my absolute favourite, episode of the entire series.
Although, it is a close call between that and “Midnight Sun” because both are amazing for very different reasons.
There are just so many mind blowing episodes in this second arc, which makes sense since it is the best one of the series so far.
As for the first arc of the season, the Uprising Arc, it is heavily changed from the manga, where it was a lot slower paced.
In the anime, many of the events in this arc were switched around or removed entirely to create a more natural flow, which I think worked out well.
Sure, it is a shame that some characters who got development in the manga did not get that here but the anime version is better paced for it, with great episodes like “Wish” delivering the perfect amount of action, exposition, and character drama.
That is another thing I especially love about this season: how it continues to develop its amazing cast of characters.
Armin, Erwin, Historia, Levi and Grisha are the definite standouts this season, with so much backstory and  amazing moments given to them.

Historia Wish
Characters like Historia get a lot of development this season, causing them to become some of my favourites.

This results in some gut wrenching moments when these characters are at their lowest points, and some crowd pleasing moments when they are at their highest.
Even characters with smaller roles in the overall story, like Kenny and those introduced in Grisha’s backstory, are memorable and well developed.
Then there is the animation and music, which are both stellar.
Episodes like “Pain” and “Hero” show off the best animation the anime has had to date with Levi’s impressive skills.
One of the few parts where I found that the animation faltered was with the CGI Colossal Titan but the rest of the animation is so jaw dropping that it more than makes up for it.
As for the music, once again I will be adding many of these OSTs to my Spotify so I can listen to them over and over again.
I have said before that Attack on Titan has my favourite soundtrack of any series and this season topped many of the already amazing songs seen in the previous seasons.
This fantastic usage of animation and music helps to build on the suspense and action that is happening on screen.
With this, the story builds to a contemplative conclusion in “The Other Side of the Wall” where Eren is put at a crossroads, which will lead him to a point of no return next season.

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The final episode of the season sees our main characters reach their goal, only to realize they are facing an entirely new threat.

Speaking of which, season four is confirmed to be the final season, and with the manga currently in its final arc, it looks like the anime and manga may be set to end around the same time.
I am very excited to see how Hajime Isayama will end his masterwork of a story.
However, It will be interesting to see if season four takes a break in between arcs, like season three did.
Actually, I think it will be more interesting to see whether of not we will be told, if it this happen.
This is my one big gripe with season three of Attack on Titan. 
We only found out about the six month hiatus when the first arc ended, displaying a sad lack of communication on Wit Studio’s part.
This does not affect my opinion of the season, since the wait was more than worth it, but I would appreciate more transparency if this does happen again.
I also hope Wit Studio can work on Attack on Titan’s final season because rumors are still floating around that they may hand it over to another studio.

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The fourth and final season of Attack on Titan airs in 2020, starting with the Marley Arc where new and interesting characters, and perspectives will be introduced.

Overall, though, many people are now rightly calling Attack on Titan one of the best anime in modern times, and I am glad to see it getting this well deserved recognition.
I cannot wait for the final season where the story will go to much darker places and, hopefully, end on a satisfying note.

Attack on Titan, Season 3, episode 18, Midnight Sun Review: New Greatest Episode.

5 stars

Spoiler Free Review:

Well, it took a while but my favourite episode of Attack on Titan, “Warrior”, has finally been overtaken.
I was looking forward to this episode the moment I read the chapter of it last year, and Midnight Sun” does not disappoint.
The story picks up in the aftermath of the almost as amazing “Hero” from last week, and centers around what has to be one of the most difficult choices in anime history.
If Attack on Titan was an RPG, and I was playing Levi at that moment, I would have no idea what to do.
This choice makes for the most emotional moment of the entire series, with me crying not once but twice.
What makes these emotional scenes so great is the spectacular voice acting.
Literally every member of the cast brings their A game to this episode, especially Yûki Kaigi and Yui Ishikawa who give their best performances as Eren and Mikasa so far.
What makes their performances even more powerful is the almost complete lack of music, which is very striking because it allows the emotion behind the characters’ pain come through greatly.
As far as I can remember, there are only two instances of actual music being played and both are superb.
The episode does not even play the opening, which is how you know it means business going in.
Along with all this comes more hints to future episodes of the season, with me believing the next one could even top “Midnight Sun” because it will be adapting my favourite chapter from the manga.
We will have to wait and see though and, at least until then, Midnight Sun will remain my favourite Attack on Titan episode with its fantastic story, acting and emotionally gripping scenes.

Spoiler Review:

Rest in peace, Erwin Smith.
You were the best commander the Survey Corps ever had and you have the best death of the entire series.
Yes, we had to say goodbye to this great leader in “Midnight Sun”, and in a perfect way too.
Even with the manga long having passed Erwin’s death, his is still the best of Attack on Titan so far, with it resolving his character arc brilliantly and the impact of his death still being felt.
Erwin was a selfish person but, in his final moments, he threw his dreams away for the good of humanity, finally becoming what he had always pretended to be.
Coming into the episode, I thought this death would not hit me as hard because I had already read it in the manga but, boy, was I wrong.
Erwin’s death hit me like a tonne of bricks emotionally, just as the build-up to this event did with Levi’s big choice.
“Midnight Sun” finally shows those who only watch the anime what Eren and Mikasa’s fight with Levi in the season three part one cliffhanger was about.
Levi can only save one person by turning them into a Titan and feeding Bertholdt to them but he wants to save Erwin while Eren and Mikasa want to save Armin.
This leads to the serum bowl, with the three of them, and Floch, fighting over who should get it, before Hange and the others arrive to stop the chaos.
It is these scenes that deliver the most emotional gut punches of the episode, with Eren and Mikasa’s desperate attempt to save Armin leaving me on the verge of tears.
The dam eventually burst for me when Hange revealed Moblit had died saving her.
Moblit’s death will definitely be overlooked by fans because of Erwin and Bertholdt’s but he was still a great side character who died doing what he was doing the moment we met him, protecting Hange.
It is her speech about this that finally gets Mikasa to mournfully stop fighting, while Eren still struggles to save his friend.
Kaigi’s performance is the best it has ever been in this scene as he tries to convince Levi to save Armin by telling him about the ocean.
This appears to not work though because Levi demands everyone leaves so he can turn Erwin into a Titan.
With Eren being dragged away by Floch, Levi goes to inject Erwin and experiences a series of flashbacks from hearing Armin’s speech about the ocean, to Kenny giving him the serum, to him telling Erwin to die for them.
The integration of these flashbacks into the shot, with them overlapping Levi’s face is amazing.
The best one of all though comes when Erwin, in a dazed state, slaps Levi’s hand away and the shot quickly transitions to the moment Erwin raised his hand as a child to ask his father about if humanity could survive outside the walls.
It is through this that Levi realizes Erwin is a slave to his dreams and it would be cruel to bring him back into this hell so he saves Armin.
Bertholdt’s final moments as he is devoured by him is both gory and tragic, leaving me feeling sorry for him despite all he had done.
The big death of the episode still goes to Erwin though, with music finally coming into the scene when Hange announces his passing, bringing me to tears once more.
Erwin may have been a devil, like Floch said, but he was an inspirational one.
I am also personally glad that Armin is the one who was chosen because, again, he is my favourite character.
Now, he is also the Colossal Titan, which is sure to bring many exciting moments because the scouts now have two Titan Shifters on their side.
Along with these emotional scenes, there are also many hints to future episodes.
The first one comes when Eren meets Zeke for the first time and it is revealed Zeke knows Eren’s father, believing him to have brainwashed them.
How exactly he knows Grisha is not revealed because of Levi’s interruption but, as a manga reader, I can tell you that when it is revealed it will be shocking.
Then there is Reiner, who is rescued by Zeke shortly afterwards but, before this, he begs Hange to deliver Ymir’s letter to Historia.
This means a certain moment from the manga is coming soon and I am very curious to see how it will be changed because I think it needs to be.
Anyway, next episode is the one the entire series has been building to, “The Basement” where the truth will be uncovered.
I cannot wait to see if it will top my new favourite episode of “Midnight Sun.”

Barakamon Review: Slice of Life at its Best.

4 stars
Going to Anime Club at my university, I was not sure what to expect.
I was especially curious to see what kind of anime we would be watching, expecting to see some over the top action.
So, imagine my surprise when we started watching Barakamon, a slice of life anime that I found to be both heartwarming and hilarious.
Directed by Masaki Tachibana, and based off the manga by Satsuki Yoshino, The story follows calligrapher Seishu Handa (Daisuke Ono) who takes the idea of everybody hating critics more than a little too far when he punches an old curator who criticizes his work.
This results in Handa being sent to Goto Island to reflect on his actions and gain new inspiration for his calligraphy.

Barakamon
Hana is surprisingly relatable, given one of the first things we see him do is punch an elderly man.

On the island, he meets a cast of equally colorful characters, including the young girl Naru (Suzuko Hara) who joyously annoys him with her admiration every chance she gets.
The bond that grows between her and Handa is great to see play out, surprisingly so considering Handa’s actions in the first episode.
Not only this but Barakamon is also incredibly funny from start to finish, with every episode being jam packed with laughs.
One recurring joke of the yaoi obsessed Tamako (Rumi Okubo) falsely believing a romance is going on between Handa and another character Hiro gets funnier every time.
I honestly cannot count how many times we all burst into laughter with the constant great jokes, as very few fell flat.

 

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the comedy of Barakamon is spot on, proving numerous laughs. Every episode you will be laughing at something.

The anime also has some great cases of music, especially with the opening “Rashisha” by Super Beaver, which is very catchy.
This combination of great characters, jokes and music made for a very fun experience over the span of twelve episodes.
My only criticism is that some characters were not as fleshed out as they could have been.
Otherwise, Barakamon is a hilarious, good time and I suggest you watch it, especially if you are a fan of the slice of life genre.