Spy x Family, Episode Five, Will They Pass or Will They Fail? Review: The Perfect Filler.

Filler episodes: The kind of episode that many people will not be excited to watch.
These are ones that could usually be removed from the story entirely, changing nothing in doing so, often making them less than stellar experiences.
However, occasionally, there will be one filler episode that gets it right and delivers a satisfying and engaging experience, despite not being relevant to the plot.
Well, I think that the fifth episode of Spy x Family, “Will They Pass or Will They Fail?” is the perfect filler episode.
What makes it truly great, though, is not just how satisying it is but how it also excellently makes changes to the manga.
The castle party was relatively brief and small scale in the manga, yet the anime crafts a wholesome adventure for the Forger family to have after they learn Anya has been accepted into Eden College.
Directed by Kenji Takahasi, the episode opens with the build up to Anya’s acceptance, as we see the Forgers heading to see the results, only for Yor’s braclet to break, after which they see a black cat, and then Anya notices she has stepped in poop.
These bad signs seem to foreshadow the family’s downfall, as the cliffhanger before the OP shows the Forgers realizing they have not passed the admission, only for Henderson to explain the circumstances to them afterwards.
It turns out that Anya is just on the waiting list, so she is on the verge of being accepted.
Twilight is confused that they passed after he smashed a table in front of Swan, however Henderson humorously reveals he was scored highly for that because he smashed a mosquito as well, since mosquitos are the most dangerous creature on the planet to humans.
So now, all Anya needs is one of the students to withdraw and she will be accepted into the College.
Cue Yor briefly wondering if she should murder one of the student’s parents to get Anya into the College, before immediately dismissing this as she couldn’t possibly kill an innocent person.
This gag does result in another characteristically comedic expression from Anya, though.
After this, the Forgers don’t have to wait long before they learn Anya was accepted, resulting in a crazy celebration, spearheaded by good old Franky.
All of this craziness starts with him and Yor getting so drunk to the point that Yor doesn’t hear Franky admit to stealing the answers to the exam for Loid to teach Anya, eventually building to Franky telling Anya that Twilight said he would give her anything for getting accepted.
What Anya wants, it turns out, is to recreate her favourite spy show, Bondman, by having Twilight rescue her from a castle.
Twilight is reluctant until Franky guilt trips him into doing it, resulting in the excellent filler portion of the show, with the familt renting the castle and flying in, before Twilight calls many of his spy associates to help with this “mission,” many of whom are excited to learn from him.
Anya and Franky then enact their plan to stage a Bondman experience for Anya, with Anya being the princess kidnapped by the evil Franky, who Twilight needs to save as Loidman, while Yor is “whatever” according to Anya.
The game begins with Loidman tracking Anya and Franky down to a quiz section where he has to answer three questions about Anya.
If he loses, he has to put on the Loidman mask.
Loid fails in the end, quite comedically as he is outraged that he lost because he didn’t realize Anya wanted a drink of water.
So now Twilight has to wear the Loidman costume, much to his embarrassment.
But at least it results in Anya adorably declaring how excited she is to see her father portray her favourite television spy.
With moments like this, it’s pretty apparent we will be losing count of how many adorable and memeable moments of Anya there are in this anime.
Next comes a well animated action sequence of Loidman fighting through his fellow spies to reach Anya and Franky, with a pretty great OST playing alongside this animation.
However, the game is not over when Loidman reaches the Princess Anya because the most powerful witch in the world, Yorticia (drunk Yor), is here to kick Loidman’s butt!
Seeing their little fight was great, as it made me excited for what we might get if Twilight and Yor were ever to come to blows in the future of the story.
The fight also ends with a laugh, as Yor’s heel breaks, causing her to pass out drunk, leaving Twilight to deal with Franky.
How will he ever overcome such an evil foe?
Well, with a simple slap obviously, cause Franky isn’t a fighter.
In the end, Loidman rescues the Princess Anya, resulting in Anya promising him that she will work hard at school, bringing an end to this filler part of the story.
And what amazing filler it was.
Seriously, if you have not read the manga, then I recommend reading Chapter Six to see just how much they added in this episode.
Pretty much everything from the moment the game started up until Twilight reached Anya, Yor and Franky was anime original.
Even the final scene is different from the manga, with the humor of Twilight’s boss realizing how much money was spent on this “mission” being delivered a lot better, in my opinion.
Overall, I would say that “Will They Pass or Will They Fail?” is probably my favourite episode of Spy x Family so far because of how much fun it was with all of the new content.
Wit Studio and Cloverworks are clearly putting everything they have into this adaptation and it makes me even more excited for future episodes, especially the next one where we will get the ultimate Anya meme face.
So, get ready for the “heh” next episode.

The Wheel of Time, Episode Five, Blood Calls Blood Review: A Fantastic Easter Egg.

If I were to rank the Wheel of Time episodes we have so far, then Episode Five, “Blood Calls Blood,” would be one of the weaker episodes, only above the first episode “Leavetaking.”
I did enjoy “Blood Calls Blood,” it’s just that the episode is a bit of a mixed bag for me, containing many fantastic moments but also many questionable moments.
Directed by Salli Richardson-Whitefield, the episode begins with the aftermath of the brilliant Episode Four, “The Dragon Reborn,” with the Aes Sedai and their Warders mourning not just their fallen but also the fallen in Logain’s army, including the king he brought to his side.
The main focus, however, is definitely on Stepin, who is wracked with grief over the death of Kerene, as he buries her and removes her ring.
Although, in the first sign of some of the issues this episode would have later on, it is weird how shallow the graves are.
That said, there are also many good parts to this scene, along with the display Stepin’s grief, like Nynaeve tugging her braid, a moment show only fans will probably not take much note of but, for book readers, it is a nice touch for her character in the novels.
As well as this, the weather itself is also a great part of this scene, showing how much time is passing, taken even further with how the episode cuts to a month later after the opening credits.
What’s more, many of the characters also display signs of how much time has passed, specifically with Rand and Perrin, as their hair has grown considerably in the month timeskip.  
Not only this, but all three groups of main characters have now made their way to the White Tower.

The CGI for Tar Valon and Dragonmount is great.

Moiraine’s group arrives without issue, except for Nynaeve still creating trouble for Moiraine by telling her she should be careful of her.
Yet, the arrival is much grimmer for Rand and Mat, because Mat’s condition is still deteriorating, with him being scared that he may have actually killed that family at the farm, but Rand insists he did not.
Sadly, though, if Rand and Mat’s situation is bad, then Perrin and Egwene’s is 100 times worse, as they are captured by Valda and the White Cloaks, probably the last group of people you want to be captured by… well, at least of the groups we have been introduced to so far.
Back to Egwene and Perrin, the Tinker’s try to help them escape, with Aram leading the way, but the White Cloaks are brutally efficient in their capture of them.
We then go from a scene of chaos to a scene of calm, as Rand is investigating a library at the inn they are staying at, when he is confronted by a kind hearted Ogier named Loial, another fan favourite from the books.
Now, I’ll be honest, I saw some leaked images for Loial long before I saw this episode and I was not impressed.
The practical effects just made him look too cheesy.
That said, I really should have waited to see him in motion before I judged because, after watching Loial’s scenes in “Blood Calls Blood,” I actually think he looks pretty good.
Certainly not how I or many others probably imagined him, but good.
Then there’s his actor, Hammed Animashaun, who knocks it completely out of stedding.
As soon as he started talking, I was like, “well, there’s another example of perfect casting in this show.”

I cannot wait to see more of this version of Loial.

Seriously, the casting director deserves a raise for how amazing of a job they did choosing actors to play these characters.
Loial’s charming nature also works a lot like Thom’s did in Episodes Three and Four.
In those episodes, his personality allowed him to deliver exposition in a way that did not feel like we were being spoken down to, and Loial does exactly this.
He even brings up how Rand looks like an Aeilman, the group of people whose culture Thom introduced to us in “A Place of Saftey.”
But this pleasant conversation is interrupted when Loial informs Rand they are bringing the defeated Logain to show to the people, and Rand sees Mat going to look.
He chases after his friend, eventually finding him looking at the scene from a balcony, only for Logain to look right at Mat and burst into manic laughter.
This causes Mat to try and make a deal with Rand, saying one will kill the other if they ever start channeling.
It is at this point, that I have to mention the easter eggs in Rand and Mat’s storyline because, oh blood and bloody ashes, were these amazing.
I’ll go into more detail about what these easter eggs were in the spoiler section so not to spoil any potential show only viewers that may read this, but know that they are by far my favourite moment of the episode.
It is an incredible showcase of subtlety.
Following this scene between Rand and Mat, we go back to the White Tower, where Stepin is preparing for the ceremony to send off Kerene.
He tells the story of his past and how it lead to meeting Kerene in a tragic performance from Peter Franzen.
We then see the actual ceremony, where Stephin kisses Kerene’s ring and then melts it in a flaming pit overlooking the city.
Once this ceremony is over, Lan goes to Moiraine, stroking her ring and showing just how deep the Warder bond goes.

The Stepin storyline teaches us a lot about a Warder’s bond with their Aes Sedai.

However, this touching scene then cuts to a grim one as Egwene is stipped by the Whitecloaks, scrubbed down and redressed in a violating scene, that shows the sickness of Valda, as he has her tied to a chair and Perrin tied down over a board.
Valda’s intuition is unfortunately sharp, as he deduces Egwene is not an Aes Sedai through her lying, but still knows she can channel.
So, he begins to cruely torture Perrin in front of her, telling her he will kill him if she does not channel and kill her if she can, leaving the decision of who dies to them.
It is during this brutal torture, that we also get a glimpse of Perrin’s abilities, as his eyes glow golden, before Valda leaves them. 

Really liking the look of Perrin’s golden eyes here.

The episode then leaves them temporarily to cut to Nynaeve, who is greeted by Stepin asking for something to help him sleep.
When it is actually revealed what Stepin intends to do with this sleeping medicine, the scene becomes much more chilling on rewatch but, on first viewing, it merey serves as a means for these two characters to bond, and for Nynaeve to be allowed a way out.
She is quickly confronted by Liandrin with her scheming but Nynaeve is naturally still resistant to her manipulations.
Up until this point, the episode is great, with many standout moments, like Loial’s introduction, the easter eggs during Rand and Mat’s storyline, and the gruesome display of Valda’s brutality against Perrin and Egwene.
However, it is here that we get the first of the problems that bring “Blood Calls Blood” down for me.
The first of these problems is the scene after Nynaeve and Liandrin’s encounter, which sees Loial lead Nynaeve to Rand and Mat.
The reason this scene does not work for me is because of how abrupt it is.
Nynaeve is exploring the tower in one scene, and in the next she has been taken to Rand and Mat.
It is like there was an entire scene of Nynaeve meeting Loial that was cut.
At least it does lead to a further display of Mat’s corruption when he violently pushes Nynaeve awat, and we also get Nynaeve’s touching story of how Egwene pulled through from a deadly infection, potentially hinting at how she first began to channel.
What follows is the the next scene of Perrin and Egwene, which is equal parts fantastic and badly shot.
To be fair, the fantastic stuff does come first, with some excellent acting from Marcus Rutherford and Madeleine Madden, as Perrin confesses to accidentally killing his wife, in an attempt to get Egwene to agree with his decision to sacrifice himself.
I may still feel conflicted about the whole Perrin killing his wife storyline but Rutherford’s acting really sold this moment.

This was an emotional moment from Perrin.

Egwene then uses her chanelling to free Perrin while distracting Valda, causing Perrin to lunge forward, eyes pure golden, as wolves howl around them.
Valda is naturally terrified of Perrin, allowing Egwene the chance to break free and stab the Questioner.
The two then run outside and it is here that the bad shots unfortunately come into play.
I thought the shots of the wolves in “A Place of Saftey” were pretty bad and these ones are much the same, with constant cuts to try and hide the miniature size of the wolves, making the whole action scene look like a bad made for TV movie.
This really sticks out like a sore thumb when the rest of the episode is so well made.
On a more interesting note, though, Egwene has taken back the rings Valda stole from the Aes Sedai he murdered so that is a plus, since it should be able to get them into the White Tower.
Speaking of the tower, inside we see more of Linadrin’s scheming, this time against Moiraine, but Liandrin should have known this would not turn out in her favor.
Then we see Lan observing Stepin performing a ritual to ward off the evil of the Foresaken, people who served the Dark One, including Ishamael.
There seems to be eight of these Foresaken, and they were all sealed away by the previous Dragon. 

It will be interesting to see which of the Foresaken from the books are kept and which are removed.

Following this, we see Moiraine talking with Alanna, as she is worried about dying and leaving Lan without her.
Alanna reassures her but points out they have bigger things to worry about, like the Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche, wanting blood for them gentling Logain without a trial.
Moiraine assures her the situation is under control, but between the Amyrin and Liandrin, Alanna is concerned.
We then get the scene right before disaster, as Lan drinks with Steppin, who questions him about Nynaeve’s obvious feelings for him.
Lan naturally resists such ideas, which is perfectly in character for him at this point.
Stepin is supportive, however, saying that without it life is intolerable.
These words take on so much more meaning when Lan discovers Stepin has killed himself the next morning after drugging him.
It was Stepin’s final goodbye to Lan, encouraging him to embrace Nynaeve’s feelings.
Then comes the final scene of the episode, the funeral for Stepin, where Lan is given the role of expressing everyone’s grief, in a wonderful display of custom for the show.
Both Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney’s acting during this scene make it very emotional, and really drew me into the scene.
Many are unsure about it because of how stoic Lan was in the books compared to this but I think it works… until the last show.
That last damn shot.
As Lan is weeping, he suddenly rips open his robe, baring his chest in such a melodramatic moment that it made me laugh out loud.
He looked like a rock star baring his chest to make the fans go wild or something.
It ruined the moment.

This was the moment I went from feeling sad to laughing my head off.

If the episode had ended before this shot, the scene would have been great but, unfortunately, they decided to include this over dramatic moment, ending the episode on an unintentionally hilarious moment rather than the emotional one they were going for.
It is scenes like this, Nynaeve’s abrupt arrival, and the cheesy shot composition of Perrin and Egwene’s escape that really brought this episode down for me.
Still, the rest of the episode is legitimaely great and I have heard rumors that the next one, which I have not watched yet, is one of the best of the season so I have that to look forward to. 

 

 

 

Book Spoiler Section:

Alright, so let’s talk about those fantastic Padan Fain easter eggs.
I remember watching the scene where Logain is paraded through the streets, hearing laughter, and then briefly seeing Padan Fain sleeking off before the shot cut.
Que a moment of panic from me as I quickly fast forward back to see if I had seen that right and, sure enough, there he is, hidden in the background.
He even appears in an earlier shot when Rand and Mat are entering the inn, whistling his chilling tune as he watches them.
I love how they are subtly pointing to Fain’s pursuit of Rand, rather than making it obvious, like it kind of was in the first book.
It makes me hopeful for Fain’s future in the show as well, since he became a weak antagonist for me after the Great Hunt.

Seeing this Padan Fain cameo made me lose my mind.

As for another antagonist, Valda, I found his portrayal interesting.
I had heard theories that he would be merged with the Darkfriend White Cloak Carridin, but his speech about the Light to Egwene while he is torturing Perrin makes me think that is unlikely.
Another thing I loved was how the show is continuing to misdirect show only viewers about the identity of the Dragon Reborn.
They’ll see Logain laughing while the focus is on Mat and think he is the Dragon Reborn, and won’t realise that Logain was actually laughing at Rand until later.
Rand also saying he recognises Dragon Mount was a nice touch.
As for Stepin’s scenes, these moments are entirely show original, and I quite liked what they did for the world building by showcasing the bond between an Aes Sedai and her Warder, which we will hopefully see more of when we get to Moiraine’s sacrifice, whenever “The Fires of Heaven” is adapted.
There’s also the mention of the Foresaken, foreshadowing their arrival, which I am also excited for.
However, there are only eight of them instead of thirteen from the looks of things, so some of them will most likely be merged together.
Along with Ishamael I can clearly recognise Graendal, Semirhage and Asmodean, among a few others, so it will be interesting to see which Foresaken makes the cut in the future of the show.
Overall, the book changes and divergances were quite good this episode, despite “Blood Calls Blood’s” issues.  

The Promised Neverland, Season Two, Episode Five Review: I Regret My Optimism.

2 and a half stars
Well, I really jinxed myself by saying I was optimistic after The Promised Neverland Season Two, Episode Four, didn’t I?
The third episode of this second season made me really concerned with the direction the story was going, with all the important cuts, including my favourite character being completley gone.
Then Episode Four happened and I began to regain some hope.
Sure, there were things that were handled rather poorly, like the laughably incompetant soldiers, but brand new scenes, like Isabella being recrutied to hunt the children, made me optomistic about where this anime original storyline could go.
However, Episode Five has now come out and, wow, did it drop the ball.
Directed by Takahiro Harada, the episode picks up a full year after the last one.
That’s right, we have skipped a year immediately after the children escaped the bunker and now they are living in the demon world.
How did they survive so long with all of the intelligent demons, wild demons, and armed humans hunting them down?
Good question because the anime offers absolutley no explanation.
See, this is why skipping over 60 chapters is an incredibly bad idea because it means where you pick up the story from will make absolutley no sense and, in this episode, it makes little.
How did the children get the material to disguise themselves as demons?
How have they not been noticed before when they got so easily noticed this time?
Most importantly, how is Norman back so soon with absolutley no build up?
This last moment, which is the cliffhanger of the episode, has almost made me lose hope about the quality of the rest of the season entirely.
The build up to Norman’s reveal in the manga, with Norman acting as the new William Minerva, was absolutley fantastic.
Here, he just shows up with no setup whatsoever and it comes off as extremely anticlimactic because of this.
Also, while it’s nice to see Maaya Uchida back as Norman, it’s only been seven episodes so he hasn’t been gone long enough that his return is a surprise.
Norman’s incredibly bland return and the other plot holes created by the episode are not the only problems, unfortunately.
First of all, the time skip made the scene hyping up Isabella last episode almost pointless.
She was tasked with hunting the children and she just failed for that entire year.
I don’t think the demons would have been too happy with those results.
Also, the chase scene in this episode, which leads into Norman’s return, is pretty bad because it lacks any tension.
To be fair, there are some moments that saved the episode from being terrible, like Emma’s interaction with the blind demon and the exploration of deterioration with the two sympathetic demon children.
However, the rest of it made me very disappointed, with the numerous amount of plot holes in numerous scenes.
It honestly feels like the anime is just going to end with this second season, given how much has been completley skipped over and the direction the story is going.
It feels like it’s going the Tokyo Ghoul adaptation route and I really hope it can find some way to prove me wrong about that.
Unfortunately, next episode is supposed to be a recap episode so it looks like those hopes are probably going to be crushed.

Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Five, Declaration of War Review: The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For.

5 stars
Chapter 100, “Declaration of War.”
Pretty much every Attack on Titan fan who has read the manga can easily recall this chapter.
I can still remember sitting in stunned silence after reading it because of what had just occurred.
So, needless to say, I was extremely excited to see one of my favorite chapters adapted in the anime.
Well, having seen it, I can say that Mappa and director Teruyuki Ōmine definitely pulled it off, providing a nail biting delivery for “Declaration of War.”
The episode starts off with a flashback to Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie’s time in the scouts, as was seen in Episode Three.
This time, we have a scene of Bertholdt wondering why the man who hung himself in the settlement chose to tell them his story before he did so,  believing it was because he wanted to be judged.
At this point, the scene perfectly transitions to Reiner about to be judged by Eren, as they meet for the first time in four years.
Falco, the sweet boy, has absolutely no idea about the absolute disaster he has unintentionally caused, completely unaware as Eren subtly threatens all the people in the building above them by showing his cut hand, threatening to transform if Reiner tries anything.
From here, we see the build up to Willy’s declaration, as he is visited by the mysterious Kiyomi Azumabito from last episode, who seems to know something, given that she leaves before the festival.
Another interesting scene is between Karina and Annie’s father, where Mr Leonhart insists that his daughter is still alive, which is basically just Isayama’s way of saying, yes, Annie’s in the story, even if she’s not important right now.
The final build up scene before the performance sees Zeke, Pieck and Porco being lured away by a mysterious guard who then traps Pieck and Porco in a hole to prevent them from transforming and trying to stop whatever is about to happen.
As a manga reader, it’s been pretty fun to see fan theories about who the mysterious soldier is.
I’ve heard theories about it being Jean, Connie, and, most often, Armin who has had an extreme growth spurt.
In any case, this trapping scene is very well done, building the tension up nicely, and even providing some humor when Pieck’s panzer unit get jealous over Pieck hugging only one of them.
With the threat of enemy Titan Shifters removed, Eren can now confront Reiner in temporary peace and Willy can begin his last speech.
Down in the basement, Reiner asks Eren why he came here and Eren chillingly replies “the same reason you did” and follows this up by telling Reiner multiple times that he is “the same as you.”
This shows just how much Eren has grown over the four year time skip, going from hot headed to calm, collective, and even reflective over his situation.
He is clearly not the same arrogant character who I couldn’t stand all the way back in season one, and Yuki Kaji does a fantastic job voicing this calmer version of Eren.
Another voice actor who deserves praise for their work this episode is Kazuhiko Inoue, who does a fantastic job with delivering Willy’s lines, during his epic speech.
This voice acting, accompanying the gruesome imagery of the performance, makes for a great use of exposition that keeps the viewer engaged while being fed information.
The information Willy conveys is that the Marleyan version of history is a lie (big shock), and that The Great Titan War was actually ended by King Fritz, who conspired with the Tyber family to make a Marleyan, Helos, a hero, and then fled to Paradis Island out of guilt for what his people had done.
Willy revealing this shows how masterfully he can manipulate a crowd because first he reveals the truth, before redirecting the crowd’s anger at a new threat, Eren Jaeger.
Speaking of, Eren knows full well how much of a threat he is, admitting that he might just end up destroying the world, like Willy fears, because of the millions of Colossal Titans in the walls, which he could potentially control.
Falco is horrified that someone he trusted would use him and becomes even more terrified when he realizes the letters Eren had him send were to his “comrades.”
For now though, Eren’s attention is entirely on Reiner as he proceeds to judge him just like the opening of the episode suggested that he would.
However, this judgement is not what we might expect.
Instead of condemning Reiner, like he did in earlier seasons, Eren is shown to have become more understanding of him, as showcased by Eren telling Reiner to forget his promise to make Reiner suffer, admitting that there is good and bad people on both sides of the conflict.
This is followed by the moment that breaks Reiner completely, Eren telling him that he did what he did because he was a brainwashed kid.
Reiner refutes this entirely, falling to his knees and tearfully admitting that he pushed on with the mission to attack Paradis because he wanted to be a hero and he is to blame for Eren’s mother’s death.
Reiner’s voice actor, Yoshimasa Hosaya, did such a great job with Reiner’s tearful repentance that it almost made me cry.
Reiner’s pleas for death are then juxtaposed by Willy saying he doesn’t want to die because “he was born into this world,” and this very line that Eren’s mother spoke years ago finally draws Eren’s attention away from Reiner, as shown by the subtle widening of his eyes.
Maybe Eren is experiencing some hope that he will not have to go through with his plan?
Unfortunately, any hope Eren might have for peace is shattered because Willy follows this up by proclaiming he wants everyone to help him fight the devils of Paradis.
Accepting what he must do and that he really is the same as Reiner, Eren pulls Reiner to his feet, as we get some anime original content of soldiers approaching the basement door, ready to attack Eren.
One might think upon hearing about this scene that it is a pointless attempt at diminishing Eren’s responsibility for what comes next but, thankfully, it comes across more as a way to build tension, rather than try to justify Eren’s horrific act of violence.
And horrific it is, as Eren transforms then and there, killing who knows how many civilians and even Willy Tyber himself, crushing him with massive his fist, before throwing him in the air to be devoured, like a piece of popcorn.
This scene is just fantastic with a great use of sound and music.
That said, some manga readers took issue with the OST in this scene, 2Volt.
Some took such a disliking to this OST usage that they even harassed director Teruyuki Ōmine over it, to the point that he felt depressed.
Critique a scene all you want but if you harass the people behind that scene, you’ve gone way too far.
Personally, I feel that the music worked great and the people who dislike the scene may have had their own preconceived ideas on how the it would go, making them be inevitably disappointed when it didn’t suit their envisioned scene.
Still, even though I thought this final scene was great, there is one issue I have with the episode but it is one I am not ready to deduct points for just yet.
This issue is that there is a cut scene between Willy and Magath that is crucial to understanding both their characters’ motivations.
There is a possibility that this scene could have been moved to episode six, so if we see the scene there then this won’t be an issue, however, if it’s not there, then I think we are missing some crucial development for both these characters.
Like I said though, I am not going to be deducting any points from the episode because there is always the chance of this scene appearing in the future.
Overall, “Declaration of War” is a fantastic adaptation of one of the manga’s best chapters, delivering the point of no return for Eren brilliantly.

His Dark Materials Episode Five The Lost Boy Review: Well, This is Darker Than The Film.

4 stars
Even though it has been years since I have seen The Golden Compass, I still remember some things about it.
One of those was Billy Costa being separated from his Daemon but surviving.
So, imagine my surprise when this episode of His Dark Materials, “The Lost Boy” adapted this scene, only to kill Billy off because of him being separated from Ratter.
Apparently, this is also different from the books, where it is not Billy but another character who dies.
Such a change makes the show way darker than the film by a wide margin.
Directed again by Otto Bathurst, “The Lost Boy” had many surprises in store for me like the introduction of the young Will Parry (Amir Wilson).
He comes from our world but it is stated in narration that his fate is intertwined with Lyra’s.

Will Parry.png
I was not aware that Will would play such a central role in the story and it will be interesting to see what that role is. 

But, given that his father John Parry has been to the Daemon world and Boreal is watching Will and his mother, it is clear how Will will be brought into the world of Daemons.
On top of this, Will is a sympathetic character, with him having to deal with his mother Elaine’s (Nina Sosanya) mental illness on a regular basis.
However, she is clearly not as mentally ill as he thinks she is, because she does seem to know quite a bit about her husband’s life, although she hides this.
Boreal is on her and Will’s trail, though, and he has already inserted himself into their situation so I suspect this will not end well for Elaine.
As for the events in the Daemon world, the buildup to Billy’s discovery is done well, with plenty of character payoff.
I especially liked the character growth of John Faa (Lucian Msmati) who has learned to trust Lyra and her alethiometer since the events of “Armour.”
We also get another emotional scene with Farder Coram as he reunites with his old lover, the witch Serafina Pekkala (Ruta Gedmintas).
Then there is Lyra’s growing bonds with Iorek and Lee who are just as great as they were in the previous episode.
The discovery and death of Billy Costa is sad and well executed, even if it is a deviation from the original novel.

the discovery of billy.jpg
Billy Costa’s fate is very different from the film and novel, making the future of the story uncertain in how it will diverge from the source material.

The episode ends on a great cliffhanger, with Lyra being kidnapped by the Gobblers and taken to Bolvanger, where they plan to separate her from Pan permanently.
And it is because of Billy’s death that this cliffhanger works so well because his demise sets up a significant threat level for Lyra, causing many viewers, who do not know how things will turn out, to fear for her safety.
Overall, “The Lost Boy” is a solid episode of His Dark Materials. 
While not as good as the previous episode “Armour” it sets up a number of plot points that should led to some great scenes in the future.

Watchmen Episode Five, Little Fear of Lightning, Review. The Trauma of Looking Glass.

5 stars
I can easily say that the fifth episode of Watchmen, “Little Fear of Lightning” is the best episode of the series so far.
Directed by Steph Green, it mainly centers around the character Looking Glass, who was a character I had been intrigued by since the first episode, and this episode definitely makes him my favourite.
His arc in “Little Fear of Lightning” is just fantastic, with Tim Blake Nelson doing an amazing job bringing his trauma to life.
This trauma was created in 1985 when Looking Glass was just Wade Tillman, a young, conflicted and naive Jehovah’s Witness, played by Philip Labes.
His nativity is proven by how he literally approaches the most aggressive looking people at a carnival and is then dragged into a house of mirrors by a female member who manipulates him into getting undressed and then steals his clothes.
Ironically, this ends up saving his life as the mirrors seem to save him from the psychic blast unleashed by the alien squid Ozymandias drops on Manhattan, killing half its population.

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Wade somehow chose the most threatening people to approach but, hey, at least it saved his life.

The squid is then shown in all of its glory and I was honestly surprised by how well it is incorporated into the story.
I had always supported Zack Snyder’s decision to make Ozymandias blame Dr Manhattan for the attack in his adaptation because I felt the giant squid would not work on screen.
Well, “Little Fear of Lightning” proved me wrong with a perfect portrayal of the hoax.
The effects the event had on Wade is also perfectly displayed, hinting that his truth telling ability may have been generated by the blast that traumatized him.
Wade’s trauma is so great, in fact, that it is the reason he joined the police force after the White Night because it allows him to wear a mask made of a material that will supposedly protect him if another giant squid were to attack.
It seems that Laurie’s speech in the previous episode about people wearing masks to hide from the pain and trauma applies more to Wade than it does Angela.
Unfortunately, the Seventh Kavalry are fully aware of this trauma, using it to manipulate Wade by sending one of them to his support group and then purposefully alerting him to her Seventh Kavalry affiliation to lure him into a trap.
Inside their base, Wade learns that they are experimenting with teleportation and is quickly apprehended when he confronts them.
Following this, we get the reveal that Senator Joe Keene is involved with the Seventh Kavalry.
While this was expected, it did led to some interesting comments from Keene about his and Cheif Crawford’s connections to the Kavalry.
One especially interesting thing to note is that Kenne calls the Kalvary racists, implying that he is not on their side ideologically and may just be using them for a greater purpose.

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It will be interesting to see what Keene’s true role in the Seventh Kalvary is.

What this purpose is remains to be seen but it is clearly not aligned with Trieu and Will’s because Keene wants to know who murdered Crawford.
So the Seventh Kalvary, and Will and Trieu have different monstrous goals that our main characters will have to stop.
Sadly, Wade looks to have impeded this because he turns Angela in to Laurie at the end of the episode, both to protect her from the Kavalry and because he learns the truth behind the squid attack.
Keene gives him a video of Ozymandias confessing to how he hoaxed the squid attack, killing millions of people to create world peace, destroying Wade’s entire perception of what is real.
He also somehow planned for Robert Redford to become President so it will be interesting to see how he managed to figure that out.
From here, the episode goes to Ozymandias’ story where he begins his escape attempt.
Shooting himself out of his prison using the catapult, Ozymandias is revealed to be on one of Jupiter’s moons and uses the dead bodies of his clone servants to create a message for a satellite, “SAVE ME D-”.
We don’t to get to see the entire message before Ozymandias is pulled back into his prison by the game warden but it is most likely either Dr Manhattan or Dan AKA Night Owl.

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I wonder who Ozymandias sent his message to and if they will even be willing to help.

Although, considering Dan is supposed to be in prison this seems unlikely.
As for Dr Manhattan it is highly implied that he is the clones’ creators after Ozymandias is arrested by the game warden and declares that their god has abandoned them.
Why Dr Manhattan would leave his creations, though, remains to be seen, if he is their creator that is.
Either way, the ethical questions about the concept of clones is something Watchmen is tackling very well, as displayed in this episode both through Ozymandias’ servant clones and the pet clones that Wade’s ex-wife is shown to be experimenting on.
This leads to the incredibly dark scene with her supposedly incinerating the clone of a dog.
Funny, how I have seen Ozymandias mercilessly dispose of hundreds of clones and yet it’s the dog that gets to me.
In any case, “Little Fear of Lightning” ends with the Seventh Kalvary converging on Looking Glass’ property, ready to kill him because he has served his purpose and knows too much.
I was horrified when I first saw this because the episode had made Looking Glass my favourite character and I do not want him to die but, after thinking about it, I am sure he is probably safe.
After all, if he was going to die this way the episode would not have ended before his death, as the death itself would be the cliffhanger.
That said, we will probably have to wait a few weeks to know Looking Glass’ fate because it seems we will primarily be getting Angela’s point of view next episode, as she experiences her grandfather’s memories through the Nostalgia drugs she took after Looking Glass turned her in.
I would have to say that “Little Fear of Lighting” is my favourite episode of Watchmen so far, exploring trauma brilliantly through Wade Tillman and his alter ego, Looking Glass.

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.