The Promised Neverland, Season Two, Episode Eight Review: WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME!?

3 and a half stars
Episode Seven of Season Two of The Promised Neverland was such a boring episode that I honestly forgot what happened in it not long after.
It wasn’t even so bad that I just had to talk about it, like with Episode Six, it was just extemely forgettable.
Therefore, I never really saw a point in reviewing it, since I could not remember anything about it.
Episode Eight, on the other hand, is definitley worth reviewing since it’s one of the better episodes of the season.
Definitley not quite as good as Episodes One and Two but certainly a lot better than Episodes Five, Six and that extremely pointless recap episode.
Directed by Hiroki Itai, the episode picks up with what should have happened in Episode Six, a flashback to Norman’s time in Lambda.
This is what we should have got instead of that god awful exposition scene, which was one of the worst instances of telling instead of showing that I have ever seen.
I still think that we could have used an entire episode laying out Norman’s time at the facility but it was still decent.
We also got to meet the main villain of the story here, Peter Ratri, who, as an antagonist, is servicable enough.
He’s nowhere near as interesting as Isabella, or the character who would have been the main antagonist of the season if the Goldy Pond Arc hadn’t been cut, but he’s still servicable.
All in all, this flashback is good but could have been more fleshed out.
I wish the anime had expanded on Smee a bit because he’s essentially a plot device to randomly justify Norman’s escape.
Despite these problems, it was still interesting to finally see how Norman escaped Lambda and formed his own little Suicide Squad.
From here, the episode cuts to the present where Emma, Ray and the others are searching for Mujika and Sonju, while Norman and his cronies are preparing to initiate their attack early.
It’s all fairly standard stuff to move the plot along and, as a manga reader, I was disappointed with how one intense shot of Norman was extremely simplified.
In any case, Emma and the others finally locate Mujika and Sonju, only for Norman to attack the demon village early and, just like that, the episode gets way better.
Watching the effects of Norman’s drug on the demons is a pretty big gut punch and the music is straight up fire.
But then my excitement is slightly ruined by yet another contrived scene, when Norman hesitates to kill a demon girl all because the grandpa demon shouts Martha– I mean Emma!
Jokes aside, this had to be a Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice refrence right?
It’s just too similar and just as convenient.
But hey, at least it leads into the final shots of the episode, where Emma arrives just in time and sees Norman as a scared child, which gave me literal goosebumps.
So, overall, there’s a lot of good and a lot of bad about the episode.
However, despite the episode’s problems, it just edges out into the good territory because of the Norman flashbacks and the intense final scene, even if there is a lot of convience there.
In my opinion, Episode Eight in the best one this season, since Episode Two.
However, you will definitley not see me being as kind about Episode Nine, oh no.
I just watched that episode and rather than just being just forgettable, like Episode Seven, it’s just plain bad, like Episodes Five and Six.
Expect a full on rant when I review that one.
Oh well, at least we got one good episode before the show descended into train wreck territory again.

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Eight, Assassin’s Bullet Review: Great Use of OST for Tragic Scene.

5 stars
Well, the Gabi hate train has officially left the station.
In all seriousness, I was both excited and dreading Episode Eight of Attack on Titan‘s Final Season, “Assassins Bullet.”
I was dreading it because it would deliver one of the moster heartbreaking deaths of the series and excited because, well, it would deliver one of the most heartbreaking deaths of the series.
The death of Sasha Blouse is one of the most tragic moments in Attack on Titan and it was adapted perfectly, in my opinion.
Directed by Hidetoshi Takahashi, Lie June Yang and Yōsuke Yamamoto, “Assasin’s Bullet” begins by slowly building up to Sasha’s death, first by showing the quick defeat of Reiner by Eren.
Anime only viewers may have thought an epic fight was about to happen, based off the previous episode’s cliffhanger but no, at least not this time.
Reiner’s Titan wasn’t formed well enough to handle Eren, both because of his injuries and his suicidal thoughts.
However, Reiner’s goal wasn’t to fight Eren here but to rescue Porco, which he succeeded in doing, managing to outsmart Eren.
With his power spent, Eren decides to flee with Mikasa, showing Reiner a sympathetic look before saying he’ll see him later as he and Mikasa take off for the airship with the rest of the Scouts.
Seeing this, Gabi decides to make her last stand, taking off with the gate guard’s gun and ready to shoot Eren Jeager, who is currently boarding the airship.
It is here that we get Eren’s reunion with Armin and Levi, which is tumultiuous to say the least.
First, there is Armin pulling Eren into the airship, a blank stare on his face, where there is a clear difference to Armin’s happy expression when similarly giving Eren a hand back in Season Three, when they were leaving the Reiss’ crystal cavern.
Then, there’s Levi who, in classic fashion, kicks Eren in the face, sending him crashing into the wall.
Levi places him under arrest, before telling him he looks like every hopeless person he meet in the Underground, showing how far Eren has fallen.
Armin even stops Mikasa from helping Eren here.
Eren’s actions have clearly driven a rift between him and the rest of the main cast, which will only widen further upon the death of Sasha, which is built up to from this point on in the episode.
This build up to her tragic death is started first by, of course, reminding us all of how close Sasha is with Connie and Jean, just to drive the knife deeper into our hearts, when she finally bites the bullet.
As Floch starts a victory cheer in honour of the six Scouts who lost their lives (soon to be eight), Connie embraces Jean and Sasha, telling the two that they are important to him.
Way to jinx it Connie because down below the airship, Gabi is racing to attack the Scouts, with Falco right behind her.
Coming from a family of former restorationists, Falco is obviously not as brainwashed as Gabi, who comes from a Warrior family, so he sees the truth of the situation.
He tries to tell Gabi as much by stopping her and informing her that this attack is revenge for the attack on Paradis nine years ago.
Gabi, however, can’t break through the brainwashing because of her upbringing, which is only reinforced by the horrors of war she has just experienced.
Bringing up the deathsb of Udo and Zofia, how she never saw this attack on Paradis, and how it has always been normal to kill those on the island because they are devils who may have just ruined whatever chance of Eldians being accepted, Gabi races off once more.
Shooting a former member of the Garrison, Lobov, Gabi prepares to use his ODM Gear to launch a suicide attack on the Scouts, planning to take out as many as she can.
As Colt approaches, Gabi plans to part ways with Falco, telling him he was one of the good ones.
Unfortunately for her, Falco is not going to just up and abandon her as he grabs hold of her when she takes off, remembering the promise he made to Reiner.
All Colt can do is watch as his brother and Gabi descend up into the enemy’s clutches to deliver Sasha her death.
It is here that Floch’s intent to create a cheer for Eldia comes back to bite him, everyone, and especially Sasha in the behind.
Not being able to hear anything because of the chanting, Gabi is able to sneak onboard and get a shot off… right into our beloved Potato Girl’s chest.
Just like that, the cunductor has screamed “All aboard!” for the Gabi hate train.
While many people may have boarded this train, hating Gabi for killing Sasha, I, for one, remain firmly on the platform.
Ever since I read the manga, I have never hated Gabi for killing Sasha because she is a brainwashed child who just saw Sasha kill people she cared about.
I will miss Sasha in the anime just as much as I did in the manga but I am still personally looking forward to see Gabi and the other characters grows from this.
Sasha’s death is honestly one of the most impactful moments in the manga, both because of how emotional it is and its long term effects on the story.
We will some of these effects in the next episode but back to “Assassin’s Bullet”, following Sasha being shot we get absolute craziness, as Gabi and Falco are beaten by Floch and the other Scouts while Jean and Sasha try to get a tourniquet wrapped around Sasha and keep her concious.
However, with blood leaking from her mouth, it is clear that Sasha has internal bleeding and does not have long.
This is further confirmed by her haziness, as she seems to be hallucinating that she is about to be served meat to eat.
Sasha’s voice actor,  Yū Kobayashi, does an excellent job here voicing Sasha’s final moments, as she struggles to speak through her slowly escaping life.
Then, we get the big twist of the episode because, as Jean prepares to bring Gabi to “the mastermind” of this attack, Magath comes to see an injured Pieck and learns of the Marleyan soldier who trapped her and Porco.
This soldier, named Yelena, is one Pieck recognized for one, very specific reason: she is a devout follower of Zeke.
With that line, comes the reveal that Zeke has been working with the Scouts to orchestrate this attack on Liberio to extract him.
Zeke seems to want Eldia to be free based on what he is says and has been using Yelena to communicate with the Scouts over the years.
Speaking of Yelena, it was funny to see various anime only viewers think for a couple of weeks that she was actually Armin, who had gone through a growth spurt during the time skip.
As for Zeke, despite it being revealed that he is now working with the Scouts, things are not obviously good between them, considering all that he has done.
Levi especially has an axe to grind with Zeke, promising that he still plans killing him to be the last part of a meal that he will savour.
It seems that Eren is in a similar state of tension with the Scouts, as Hange states that, by going rogue and forcing the Scouts hand through making himself a hostage, he has lost their trust.
Before the tension can grow any further, however, Connie comes in with the hearbreaking news that Sasha has died and, at that very moment, the OST kicks in.
For Sasha’s death, an instrumental version of “Call Your Name” was chosen.
The combination of the OST and the shots of Mikasa and Armin crying over Sasha’s dead body had me tearing up.
It was the perfect way to portray Sasha’s death in all of its tragedy.
This tragedy is hightened when Eren learns of her last word, which was “meat.”
One could be mistaken for thinking this is some kind of joke but it’s really not.
For Sasha, food represented the freedom she would obtain when she and the Scouts were finally safe and got to eat whatever they wanted.
In this moment, Eren realizes that Sasha has lost her chance at this freedom, which is why he laugh-cries, similar to what he did when Hannes died.
And, with this, the tragic “Assasin’s Bullet” comes to a close.
Overall, I would say this was a perfect adaptation of the manga, with Sasha’s death in particular being tear inducing.
I for one am interested to see if the Gabi hatred will last, or if more people will start to warm up to her character as the season goes on.

His Dark Materials Episode Eight, Betrayal Review: Worst. Parents. Ever.

4 stars
Before coming into the final episode of the first season of His Dark Materials, “Betrayal”, I read a YouTube comment that went something along the lines of “poor Roger.”
After reading this, it was pretty apparent that my suspicions from the cliffhanger of the previous episode, that Asriel wanted Roger for a very dark reason, would turn out to be true.
And, all I can think after watching the Jamie Childs directed finale, “Betrayal”, is that Lyra has the worst parents ever.
Seriously, I have no idea why I thought Asriel would turn out to be a good person when he is in love with Coulter; you know, the woman willing to sacrifice children to get what she wants.
It only makes sense that Asriel has the same ruthlessness to achieve his goal, which turns out to be the case when he murders Roger in order to open a bridge to the multiverse.
James McAvoy does a fantastic job as Asriel in this scene as he tries to justify his actions to Roger while he is about to murder him.

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Roger says that Asriel looked at him like a hungry wolf and that was definitely the case.

Both he and Coulter are fascinating in their ruthlessness and hypocrisy, willing to kill many children to achieve their goals while remaining adamant that nothing must happen to Lyra.
It is this hypocrisy that leads Coulter to refuse to follow Asriel into the multiverse because she wants to find their daughter.
This makes it ironic that Lyra follows Asriel into the multiverse immediately afterwards to stop him, separating her again from Coulter.
Honestly, Asriel leaving Lyra at Jordan College was the only good thing he ever did for her.
As well as the fascinating aspects of Asriel and Coulter’s characters, another interesting feature is the explanation of why the Magisterium fears Dust, believing it to be the cause of human sin.
Asriel wants to escape from the grip of the Magisterium, which is why he sacrifices Roger so cruelly.
Before this, we did get more scenes of Roger and Lyra bonding to make his death all the more tragic because we can see how good of a friend he was.
The scene of Roger’s demise is expertly handled with the acting from both Dafne Keen and Llewin Loyd, and the sound design, giving it an extra emotional punch.

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The tragedy of Roger’s death is sold by the great shots and editing as well.

As for Will, his role is almost as important with his entry into Lyra’s dimension being built up right up until the two enter the bridges at the end of the episode.
This was a nice case of editing for the end of “Betrayal” and opens up some interesting directions for the second season to go with both characters exploring the other’s universes.
The two are definitely linked.

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Both Lyra and Will entering the multiverse at the end of the episode sets up their journeys in season two.

Now, for the issues I had with the episode, which is mainly down to a few things that did not make much sense, like when the armoured bears showed up out of nowhere to help Lyra and Iorek.
I’m pretty sure they did not come with them in the previous episode so when did they get there?
Also, Roger definitely distrusts Asriel so it does not make sense for him to follow the man so willingly.
Then there is the lack of Lee and Serafina because it felt like they were set up to return and help Lyra this episode but they were nowhere in sight.
Overall, though, “Betrayal” is a fitting finale for the season that ends a lot of character arcs in a satisfying, yet tragic, way.
I am certainly looking forward to the second season.

 

 

My Hero Academia Season Four Episode Eight, Suneater of the Big Three Review: The Parallel of Hero and Villains.

4 and a half stars
After episode seven of My Hero Academia‘s fourth season “GO!” promised a followup, action filled episode with its cliffhanger, that episode “Suneater of the Big Three” delivers on this.
As the title suggests, the main character of this episode is Tamaki Amajiki, AKA Suneater, who goes on an emotional journey in his fight this episode, with plenty of parallels between him and the villains he fights.
These three villains are members of the eight expendable bullets, Toya Setsuno, Yu Hojo, and Soramitsu Tabe.
Thrown out and left for dead by society, these three were eventually taken in and brainwashed by Overhaul to fight for him to the bitter end.
“Even trash has its pride,” Yu states at one point, showing the extent that they have been influenced by their boss.
And, just as these villains are influenced by Overhaul, Tamaki is influenced by Mirio in a clear parallel.
As a child Tamaki had no self confidence until Mirio came along and inspired him to believe in himself, just like the villains were lifted out of their situation by Overhaul’s brainwashing.
This presents a two sides of the same coin parallel, where Tamaki has been correctly influenced and the villains negatively, leading to to conflict.
Tamaki’s battle with the villains is absolutely fantastic with both sides utilizing their quirks with ingenious tactics.
Toya and Yu make a great combination, until Tamaki uses his Chimera Kraken technique, forcing them to call in Tabe to even the odds again, only for Tamaki to outwit them and finally take them down.
The constant back and forth on who was winning this fight made for an intense battle where the viewer would have been unsure of who would win right to the very end.
As for other moments in the episode, they are also very well done, with another great display of Sir Nighteye’s quirk and plenty of heart warming flashbacks to Tamaki’s friendship with Mirio.
All in all, “Suneater of the Big Three” is the best episode of season four so far.
However, it will almost certainly be overtaken next episode, which will see an even more intense fight with Kirishima, along with revealing his backstory, which I am very excited to see animated.