My Hero Academia, Season Five, Episode One, All Hands on Deck! Class 1-A Review: A Much Anticipated Ending.

3 and a half stars
Well, My Hero Academia has finally returned with its fifth season and it began just like last season’s premiere, with a filler episode, albeit a better one.
I’m not the kind of person who usually enjoys filler so I was not eagerily anticipating the first episode, “All Hands on Deck! Class 1-A”, because I thought every scene would be kind of meaningless in the long run.
While this is mostly true, with none of the filler scenes in this episode seeimingly having any importance to the story, the ending did surprise me with a scene I thought we would be getting next episode that I had been looking forward to for a long time.
Not only this but the filler content is actually pretty funny.
Directed by Tsuyoshi Tobita, the episode follows Class 1-A as they go through a hero training course, in which they have to beat the fake villains, Tamaki and Nejire, and rescue the fake civilian, Mirio.
It is Tamaki and Mirio who bring the biggest laughs here with Nejire, as per usual unfortunately, falling into the background.
Mirio is absolutley hilarious as the clumsy civilian who constantly needs to be saved and Tamaki is just as funny as the villain who just wants to go home.
What isn’t as enjoyable is the show once again going over who all the characters are and what quirks they have.
We’ve been watching this show for five seasons, almost all of us know who these people are and, even if we don’t, we still remember the important characters the story focuses on.
We don’t need to hear all of this info that we’ve had five seasons to digest.
It just gets tiring.
At least this filler content has a funny ending, with Bakugo going insane and trying to blow up Tamaki, who just wishes that he had chosen to go home.
Bakugo really needs to go through an anger management program before he becomes a hero.
The shot of the dazed Class 1-A students stumbling through the dust caused by Bakugo’s explosion before collapsing, including Deku with some funny looking hair, gets another laugh.
When looking at the filler content alone, I would say that the Season Five premiere has about the same ranking as the Season Four premiere for me.
Both are filler episodes with some funny moments but overall they don’t add anything to the story and mostly feel like a waste of time.
At least, I would have said this about “All Hands on Deck! Class 1-A” if it hadn’t been for the ending, where Dabi finally confronts Endeavor.
This is a scene that I’ve been wanting to see for a while and I thought we were going to get it next episode, when I learned that this episode would be filler.
So, imagine my surprise when it turned up as a post-credits scene.
Not only this, but the cliffhanger of Dabi meeting up with Hawks is also expertly placed to get anime only viewers asking questions.
The music during this post-credits scene is also top notch.
Although, there is a slight animation error because Dabi’s ears are not scarred when he goes to confront Endeavor, when they have been scarred in every scene he has previously been in.
It did take a second viewing for me to catch this, though, so it’s not a big deal and I think they’ll fix it later, maybe for the Blu-Ray.
Overall, with the unexpected scenes of Dabi confronting Endeavor and the Hawks cliffhanger, I would say “All Hands on Deck! Class 1-A” is elivated from an average episode to a good one that does a nice job of building up to the next episode.

Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode One: The Other Side of the Sea Review – A Fantastic New Beginning.

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN MANGA SPOILERS.

4 and a half stars
It’s finally here!
After over a year of waiting, Mappa has delivered the first episode of Attack on Titan’s final season, “The Other Side of the Sea,” and, boy, is it a good one.
Honestly, coming into this episode, I had concerns.
There has been a number of leaks about production hell at Mappa with how complex the character designs are so I was worried the animation would suffer.
However, Mappa and directors  Yūichirō Hayashi and Jun Shishido thankfully pulled it off, delivering a fantastic first episode that gave me a new appreciation for Chapters 91 and 92 of the manga, which the episode adapts.
Directed by  Kaori Makita, “The Other Side of the Ocean” picks up four years after the defeat of the Warriors on Paradis, introducing us to a whole slew of new characters, starting with Falco (Hanae Natsuki), an Eldian warrior candidate caught in the middle of the final battle of a war.
The opening scene introducing him and his brother Colt (Masaya Matsukaze) is fantastic, with the ringing of Falco’s ears, the intense music, and the brutal imagery of the brothers’ fellow soldiers being cut down in a hail of bullets.
The war the two are involved in is Marley’s attempt to defeat the Mid-East Allied Forces by destroing their forces at Fort Salta; the Mid-East Allied Forces being a series of countries who banded together to attack Marley after they were defeated at Paradis four years ago.
This information is delivered to us in admittedly shoddy exposition, with the convenient excuse of Falco losing his memory due to a probable concussion.
Thankfully, it is a brief scene so it is not too much of a problem.
Also, this does give the episode time to introduce its other new characters, Gabi (Ayane Sakura), Udo (Ayumu Murase), Zofia (Yumi Kawashima), and Commander Magath (possibly Yukitoshi Hori), all of whom are greatly adapted from the manga.
Gabi is especially well done, with Ayane Sakura bringing the character to life perfectly because I already can’t imagine another voice actress playing her and I’m probably going to hear her voice whenever I read Gabi’s lines in the story.
Following these introductions, Gabi reveals she, Falco, Udo and Zofia are being considered by Magath for the role of the next Armoured Titan.
It is after this that we get the Final Season OP, “My War” by Shinsei Kamattechan.
Honestly, on my first listen, I was kind of unsure about it but, after repeat views, I think it’s a great opening for the Marley Arc, with amazing lyrics, and some chilling visuals towards the end.
I suppose my biggest criticism of it would be that it does occasionally use repeated shots of explosions and I think there should have been some variety.
Once the OP closes, we get the the beginning of the epic battle, with Gabi coming up with a plan to take down the Armoured Train, which is a threat to even the nine Titans, all by herself.
This plan goes off without a hitch, with Gabi destroying the Armoured Train before Falco dives in to protect her from machine gun fire.
He needn’t have tried though because the new Jaw Titan, Galliard, who has one of my favourite Titan designs, shows up to save them.
We also get a look at the Cart Titan, which has had its own upgrades in the four-year time skip, with machine guns mounted on its back to shoot at oncoming soldiers.
It is during this time that Falco saves an enemy soldier, only for him to call the Warrior candidates “devils,” showing how strong the hatred for Eldians is outside Paradis, even from their own people, as Gabi so obviously displays by how brainwashed she is into hating the Paradisian Eldians.
Then, we get the most epic moment of the episode as, in a perfect adaption, Eldians are parachuted down from an airship carrying Reiner  (Yoshimasa Hosoya) and Zeke (Takehito Koyasu).
The latter lets out a vicious roar, turning all of the falling Eldians into Titans, who crash down onto Fort Slava to a great soundtrack, which we saw a hint of in the final season trailer.
Reiner jumping down and wiping out the Mid-East Allied Forces’ soldiers with the help of Galliard, then protecting Zeke from a navy bombardment, followed by Zeke destroying that navy, were all moments that left my jaw on the floor, in terms of their quality.
One slight criticism I do have about sequence is the CGI.
Basically, almost all of the Titans in this episode are CGI and, while this looks great on some Titans like Galliard and Reiner, it looks a little off for the Beast Titan in certain shots.
However, this CGI is certainly nowhere as bad as WIT’s CGI Colossal Titan and it did not lessen my enjoyment of the events so, even if the quality of the Titans remains the same throughout the rest of the anime, I will be completely fine with that.
Following the end of the battle, we get the ED, “Shock” by Yuko Ando, which is another banger and has plenty of cool symbolism for upcoming events.
An intriguing anime only scene accompanies this song, which appears to show Jean having infiltrated Marley, hyping up a future battle that I hope is done justice with the adaptation.
This was not the only anime only scene in this episode though because there were multiple ones and, in my opinion, almost all of them improved the adaptation.
There were the anime original portrayals of the horrors of war, like traumatized Eldian soldiers, including one kissing a locket supposedly containing a photo of his loved ones, a squad of what appeared to be forced suicide bombers, and a single soldier climbing atop countless corpses.
Then there’s the added set pieces, like when Reiner has to destroy a second Armoured Train, which he then used to destroy the enemy canons, when in the manga there was no second train and Reiner used a radio tower to destroy the canons.
Another interesting change is the character redesign for Koslow.
In the manga, he looks like a normal guy but they adapted the design in the adaptation, making him pudgy and ugly, probably to make him seem like an evil caricature.
Thankfully, Koslow is a minor character with no importance in the plot so this character design change is not one I particularly mind.
What is definitely the most interesting deviation from the manga, though, is Falco, while concussed, saying that he dreamed he was flying around with a sword, fighting Titans.
This is quite a shocking change because it seems to be heavily implying that Falco is seeing the memories of one of the Scouts, most likely Eren’s.
If this is true, then this anime only scene may be crucial to predicting the manga’s ending, which I will discuss in my predictions for Chapter 136.
Overall, “The Other Side of the Sea” is a fantastic start to the final season that I actually think surpassed the manga, with its great adaptation of the source material and brilliant anime original scenes.
I was a bit worried about the adaptation going in but Mappa definitely proved themselves here and I hope they can keep up the quality in the 16 episodes to come.
Yes, I did say 16, because that seems to be how many episodes we will get, based off leaks, at least for now.
Since this is nowhere enough chapters to fully adapt the story without it being rushed and thus poorly adapted, this would spell certain doom for the final season were it not leaked that the pacing of this season will be around two chapters an episode.
Given this, the pacing will most likely be fine and we will probably get a second part of the season months from now, or maybe a movie or two to finish the adaptation.
No matter what happens though, I hope Mappa can keep up to the standard they have set with this episode and deliver a fitting final season to my favourite story of all time.

My Hero Academia, Season Four, Episode One Review: The first episode is here!… And it’s filler.

3 stars.png
My Hero Academia season four is finally here but off to a less than stellar start.
That is not to say that the first episode “The Scoop on U.A Class 1-A” is bad but it is a filler episode that is mainly used as a recap.
Now, for viewers who do not keep up with the story of My Hero Academia and need to be reminded of what has happened, episodes like this are necessary.
However, for those of us who keep up with the story and remember what happened at the end of season three, like me, recap episodes like “The Scoop on U.A Class 1-A” can be a bit annoying.
While there is a some enjoyment in the story of reporter Tokuda Taneo looking for All Might’s successor, it is clear that he will probably never reappear in the story again and, even if he does, it will likely not be in any meaningful way.
Although, I will say the filler of  “The Scoop on U.A Class 1-A” is at least entertaining because of the humor.
I burst out into laughter twice when watching this episode, with the anime original jokes really hitting a home run.
These comedic moments, along with more set up for Deku eventually taking All Might’s place as the new Symbol of Peace, were enough to keep me engaged in this mostly filler episode.
As for the new intro and outro, I thought they were both very good.
The intro, “Polaris,” is a great song with a lot of very good visuals, my favourite of which being when we see Deku and Eri falling from the sky trying to reach one another.
There is also a lot of symbolism for what is going to happen later in the Overhaul Arc, which I enjoyed.
One aspect that I did not like about the new intro, though, is its lack of emphasis on Mirio, Kirishima, and even the main villain of this arc, Overhaul.
These characters only appeared in group or fighting shots, and very briefly, so you would not guess from looking at the opening that they have a big role in this storyline.
Aside from that, though, “Polaris” is an enjoyable opening.
The same can also be said for the outro, “Koukai no Uta,” which is a really good song with great visuals and symbolism.
More than anything, the outro highlights the importance of Eri in this arc, with her being a character I am looking forward to seeing very much because she will be the center of many emotional scenes.
Overall, though, the first episode of My Hero Academia‘s fourth season, “The Scoop on U.A Class 1-A” is a decent filler episode.
There is enjoyment to be had but if you don’t watch it and just skip to the next episode you will not miss anything.