Chainsaw Man Episode Seven, The Taste of a Kiss Review: Worst. First Kiss. Ever.

After Episode Six, I was greatly anticipating Episode Seven of Chainsaw Man, “The Taste of a Kiss.”
Oh, it was not because I was excited to see the end of the fight between Denji and the Eternity Devil, although I was looking forward to seeing that.
No, what I was most excited about was finally seeing Himeno vomit in Denji’s mouth while kissing him… wow, that’s a sentence I never expected to be writing down.
Directed by Masato Nakazono, “The Taste of a Kiss” delivers this hilarious yet incredibly disgusting moment well, showing anime only Chainsaw Man viewers just what type of humor they can expect in this anime.
The episode begins where the previous one ended, with Denji jumping into the Eternity Devil’s mouth.
Kobeni thinks it is finally over, only for Denji to bust through with his chainsaws and begin attacking the Devil, accompanied by the music of the third Ending, “Hawatari 2 Oku-senchi” by Maximum the Hormone.
It seems like the makers of this episode realized how good of a song it was so decided to play it when Denji was decimating the Eternity Devil.
This decimation does not last long, however, because, as Power points out, Denji is losing too much blood so soon his chainsaws will retract.
We see that this is very much the case after the OP, as Denji is caught in a bloody hold by the Eternity Devil and the chainsaws in his arms do end up retracting.
However, Denji is able to bring the chainsaws back and free himself after drinking the Eternity Devil’s blood, before declaring that its scream makes its horrible blood taste like strawberry jam.
He then breaks off into a fit of maniacle laughter, sounding like a lunatic, which naturally cuts into Himeno’s following flashback of her master, Kishibe, saying that the Devil Hunters Devils fear the most are the ones with a few screws loose.
The two are at the Devil Hunter graveyard visiting the graves of Himeno’s partners, while Kishibe rants and drinks.
He says that Himeno’s partners were afraid, which made the Devils stronger, but there is no telling what a crazy person thinks, which is why the Devils fear them.
Himeno knows this does not match with her and Aki, so she is afraid for her partner’s life as he pursues the Gun Devil.
This leads to her suggesting that they take a safer job in the private sector but Aki turns her down, still determined in his mission of revenge.
Not wanting to lose Aki, Himeno decides to stay with him, but believes that if Aki manages to track down the Gun Devil then he will die because he is normal like everyone else.
We then see who exactly is not normal, as the flashback ends and we see Denji fall, supposedly defeated by the Eternity Devil, only to be revived by Himeno’s Ghost Devil, which pulls his ripcord.
Denji then has a erueka moment, realizing all he has to do is keep drinking the Eternity Devil’s blood and he can keep fighting, declaring that he has created a “perpetual motion machine.”
With this creation, he dubs the nobel prize to be his, beating Power’s idea outright.
Denji’s insane declaration causes Himeno to realize just how crazy he is, fitting into Kishibe’s explanation of a great Devil Hunter perfectly, and she beleives that Denji may actually have what it takes to eventually kill the Gun Devil.
Three days of gore later, Denji finally manages to defeat the Eternity Devil who, just as planned, offers its heart up to be destroyed by Denji, since it is in too much pain to resist anymore.
Denji destroys the heart, killing the Eternity Devil, freeing everyone from the eighth floor, and retrieving a piece of the Gun Devil’s flesh.
Some time later, Himeno suggests to Aki that they go out for drinks with everyone, partially to convince Kobeni and Arai to stay with Public Saftey, since they are thinking about leaving due to the trauma of what happened and their guilt over trying to kill Denji.
A comedic moment follows, when Aki points out that Himeno tried to kill Denji too and Himeno declares that kids these days are “so sensitive.”
Aki insists that the party will need to be this week so they can invite Makima, since she is going on a buisness trip to Kyoto soon.
This causes Himeno to bring up how suspicious it is that the Eternity Devil wanted Denji’s heart, wondering if Makima knows why.
Himeno sees the party as the perfect oppotunity to get Makima drunk so they can convince her to tell them the truth.
The scene then cuts to this party, where various humorous moments occur, such as Denji instantly forgiving a drunk Himeno for the promise of a kiss, Power boastfully exagerrating her intellgience, and Makima outdrinking everyone.
The second funniest moment of the scene is when Makima questions Denji about the kiss Himeno promised and he denies it, only to loudly confirm it when Himeno drunkily questions if the kiss is no longer happening.
It is this kiss that is the funniest moment of the scene and the entire episode.
Although, as I said, it is also its most disgusting.
As Himeno makes out with Denji, in quite a bit of animated detail by the way, Denji tastes something odd in his mouth.
At first, he thinks it is her tounge, only to realize, much to his horror, that its her vomit.
This moment becomes even more disgusting when Denji swallows the vomit because his hard life has taught him to swallow anything of nutrional value.
The disgusting nature of this infamous joke aside, I do find it kind of funny how the vomit was censored, given that the episode had absolutley no problem depciting Denji brutally tearing apart the Eternity Devil at the beginning.
As for Denji, he understandably has to do some puking of his own after his odreal, with Arai unexpectedly helping him.
Afterwards, the party ends and Denji is dragged away by a still wasted Himeno.
It would seem that the alcahol in Himeno’s vomit made Denji blackout drunk as well so he is pretty disorientated when he wakes up in Himeno’s apartment.
Himeno then stumbles into the bedroom in another moment that is exceptionally animated, for just being a character walking.
She then kisses Denji and offers to have sex with him, ending the episode and making this the second cliffhanger where a character offers Denji a sexual favour.
Overall, “The Taste of a Kiss” is another solid episode for the Chainsaw Man adaptation.
Its opening fight with the Eternity Devil is intense, the drinking scene has plenty of funny moments, and the puke scene is just as disgustingly hilarious as I remember it being in the manga, actually making me feel sick watching it.
“The Taste of a Kiss” shows anime only viewers just what kind of humor to expect going forward.
As for the next episode, well, that one shows the anime only viewers just what to expect for the story’s pacing, and in the most insane way possible.


Manga Spoilers:
There were plenty of good hints to future reveals in this episode, the first of being the Eternity Devil’s own words.
I enjoyed the foreshadowing of Pochita’s true strength when the Eternity Devil declares that Denji is weaker than before, meaning Chainsaw Man before he was turned into Pochita.
Another, more sinister hint, is Makima staring daggers at Denji being kissed by Himeno, right before the vomit reveal.
This could understandable be misinterpreted by an anime only viewer to mean that she is jealous.
However, us manga readers know that she is most likely adding Himeno to her kill list so she can destroy Denji emotionally and release Chainsaw Man.
Finally, there is Kobeni, who says she is contracted with a Devil but refuses to name it.
We still do not know what Kobeni’s devil is in the manga and I wonder if we will ever know.
The most prominant theory I have heard is that it is something akin to a Bad Luck Devil, where she brings bad luck to everyone around her while she miraculously survives everything.
If Kobeni does make a return in Part Two then I expect we might find out.
Although, given how Fujimoto just loves to destroy us all emotionally by killing off characters, maybe it’s better that Kobeni stays away and safe.

House of the Dragon Episode Seven, Driftmark Review: Eye for an Eye.

I was quite excited going into Episode Seven of House of the Dragon, “Driftmark.”
This was because the Miguel Sapochnik directed episode would adapt an event I had been looking forward to seeing ever since the show was announced, this being Aemond claiming Vhagar and then losing his eye.
The end result did not disappoint, with “Driftmark” being my favourite episode, until it was unexpectedly overtaken by Episode Eight, “Lord of the Tides.”
As for Episode Seven, it entirely resolves around the titular “Driftmark”, beginning with Laena’s funeral, after she died by Vhagar last episode, choosing to die as a dragon rider, rather than being ripped open in a medieval c-section.
However, this being Westeros, even a funeral is not safe from political manuvering, as Corlys’ brother, Vaemond Velaryon is clearly unhappy about Lucerys being set to inherit Driftmark, due to him being a bastard.
This leads to him insulting Lucerys, Jacaerys and Rhanerya by subtly calling them out in his funeral speech.
The insults do not go unnoticed, causing Daemon to laugh, potentially because of his incredulity at this happening at his own wife’s funeral; also potentially to draw attention away from Rhanerya and her sons to protect them.
Again, I love the ambiguity the show is painting Daemon’s actions with.
There are multiple different ways you could interpret his decisions over the course of the show so far.
Following the funeral comes a pretty awkward wake for Laena, as the green and black factions all interact, with various disdainful looks being thrown about.
Jacaerys clearly does not understand the severity of the situation, as he complains to Rhanerya about wanting to be at Harrenhal, mourning Lyonel and Harwin, whom he now knows was his true father.
Rhanerya’s concerned look to make sure no one heard Jace talking is well played by Emma D’Arcy.
While the tension is clearly growing at the wake, Helaena remains oblivious to it all; content to play with her bugs and spin prophecies.
“Spools of green, spools of black,” she murmmers. “Dragons of flesh weaving dragons of thread. Hand turns loom, spools of green.”
It is pretty obvious after this episode and Episode Eight that Helaena is a dreamer and I will get into what this specific prophecy may mean in the book spoiler section below.
As Helaena is murmmering her prophecy, she is looked over by Aegon and Aemond.
Aegon has been bethrothed to his sister but is clearly not happy about this,
Aemond, on the other hand, says he would gladly marry his sister.
Targaryens gonna Targaryen I guess.
Aemond does have quite an intriguing moment later on, however; when he walks over to Jace and looks like he might be about to console him over his own loss, only to walk away without saying a word.
This is yet another moment where we can only speculate about whether things could have turned out for the better, if only a different decision had been made by these characters.
While Jace is interacting with Aemond, and also comforting Baela and Rhaena, Lucerys is lectured about inheriting Driftmark by Corlys, only for him to say, “I don’t want it.”
This, I am sure, triggered many PTSD flashbacks for Game of Thrones fans, as they remembered Jon Snow’s most overplayed sentence from Season Eight.
Thankfully, the line that follows this is much more impactful, with Lucerys stating, “If I’m the Lord of Driftmark, that means everyone’s dead.”
More tragic shots follow, including Laenor sitting in the tide, mourning the loss of his sister, prompting Corlys to demand Qarl retrieve him.
Probably the most interesting interactions of the wake, however, are those of Viserys.
First, he tries to convince Daemon to come back to Kings Landing and reconcile, only for Daemon to outright refuse.
In another subtle moment, Daemon appears to almost say he needs Rhanerya before catching himself.
Viserys then goes to bed for the night, informing Alicent but accidentally calling her Aemma, showing just how much he is slipping.
The final shots of the wake see Aemond looking up at the sky as Vhagar flies overhead, foreshadowing what is to come.
That night, Rhanerya meets with Daemon and the two walk on the beach, discussing the loss of their loves, Laena and Harwin.
Daemon is also shown to heavily suspect Otto (whom has since returned as Hand of the King), along with Alicent, of orchestrating the murder of Lyonel and Harwin.
Rhanerya, however, speaks up for Alicent because she does not beleive her to be capable of murder.
In a sense, both are kind of right.
Daemon is right to suspect Otto of benefitting from Lyonel’s death and Rhanerya is right in so far as that Alicent did not actually order Lyonel’s death, rather it was orchestrated by Larys, with Alicent unwittingly playing a part.
Regardless of their disagreements of the Hightower’s involvement in Lyonel and Harwin’s deaths, Rhanerya and Daemon reconcile and sleep togethor.
Targaryens gonna Targaryen, right?
Well, for those of you especially creeped out by the incest in the show, no need to worry because it is so dark you probably will not see anything.
Seriously, the colour grading for these night scenes is quite bad at times.
I had to to turn off every light in the house and squint at times just to see what was happening.
It is a shame too because the night scene where Aemond claims Vhagar as his dragon is excellent.
This episode really showed just how massive Vhagar is, making Aemond’s taming of her even more epic, as he calms her with the valyrian language, climbs into her saddle and then orders her to fly, nearly dying on multiple occasions.
The massive dragon nearly shakes him off and Aemond nearly falls to his death on the ascent, yet he still succeeds in claming Vhagar, or stealing if you ask Baela and Rhaena.
I have seen a lot of debate online about whether Aemond taming Vhagar counts as stealing or not.
Rhaena was supposed to claim her, yet because she was mourning her mother she did not.
This lead to Aemond taking his opportunity and claiming Vhagar before Rhaena could.
Is this in poor taste?
Definitley.
But I would draw the line at saying it’s stealing, since Vhagar did choose Aemond as her new rider.
Rhaena and Baela’s anger is certainly understandable, though, and it is a much better reason for the fight happening, rather than Aemond throwing Joffrey into dragon poop, which is what happened in the book.
What is less understandable is Aemond insulting them all after claiming Vhagar, stating maybe Jace and Luke can find Rhaena a pig to ride.
This insult definitley stems from the bullying Aemond suffered from in the previous episode, directing his anger at Jace and Lucerys.
Unfortunately, this leads to the conflict escalating into a full on brawl, resulting in the best fight in House of the Dragon so far, and it is a fight between literal children.
Again, we have to think of that moment when Aemond almost comforted Jace back a the wake.
If either of them had spoken up, would they have ended up in such a violent showdown?
We will never know.
Instead, the resenment grows into bloodshed as, after threatening Jace with a rock, Aemond gets his eye cut out by Lucerys, before the Kingsguard finally show up to intervene.
Upon hearing of the fight, Viserys is understandably outraged, berating Ser Harold Westerling and Ser Criston.
It is here that we see the difference in standards among the Kingsguard.
While Ser Harold accepts responsibiltiy and apologises, Ser Criston attempts to redirect blame onto Rhanerya’s sons.
Tensions rise when Rhanerya enters the room, with Daemon just observing.
Viserys is focused on learning what happened, until Rhanerya reveals Aemond called her sons bastards.
Viserys then focuses on this, rather than his own son losing an eye.
This is most likely because of his love for Rhanerya but also because he knows that if Jace, Luke and Joffrey are considered bastards by the realm then it could plunge Westeros into war.
So, Viserys focuses on this instead of Aemond, likely increasing his own son’s hatred for his nephews.
In the end, Aemond blames Aegon instead of his mother for spreading the bastard rumor.
Aegon’s following response to Viserys when he questions where he heard this, “everyone knows, just look at them,” is a great line adapted from the book.
Viserys’ following frustration about the infighting in his family is palpable, with Paddy Considine giving another fantastic performance.
Alicent is understandably unmoved by Viserys order that everyone should make ammends.
She is angered by Aemond losing an eye, leading her to demand an eye for an eye from Lucerys.
When Viserys refuses, she steals the catspaw dagger from him and lunges at Rhanerya and her children, a moment that had been especially hyped up in the trailers and does not disappoint, with both calling the other out, leading to Alicent slashing Rhanerya’s arm.
Afterwards, the tension is finally calmed when Aemond reassures Alicent with another excellent line from the book, “I may have lost an eye but I gained a dragon.”
It really would have been better if you said that before Alicent tried to stab the heir to the throne, Aemond.
On another note, I would like to praise Leo Ashton for his role as Aemond this episode.
He was the best of the child actors this episode and perfomed the claiming of Vhagar scene especially well.
As for Alicent, she is confronted by Otto in her chambers and, for the first time, he seems to be proud of her, saying he now sees that she has “the determination to win” the “ugly game” they play.
Alicent takes her father’s support to heart by also embracing Larys’ support on the ship back to Kings’ Landing, further cementing an alliance with a powerful and dangerous ally.
Rhanerya is also cementing more allies, with Laenor committing to helping as her husband in a touching scene between the two.
This is despite the fact that we can see how conflicted Laenor is about the direction in his life.
The second ally Rhanerya gains is Daemon, offering marriage to him, to which Daemon says Laenor would have to die.
I will admit, I was completley fooled when it looked like Daemon hired Qarl to kill Laenor.
I thought Rhanerya had turned down a dark path and helped orchestrate the death of Laenor, and I was quite unsure about it, considering how much Rhanerya had seemed to care greatly for Laenor beforehand.
This is why it was a relief to see that Laenor’s death had been staged, allowing him and Qarl to row off into the sunset togethor.
Laenor did the smart thing getting out of the Game of Thrones.
He will live much longer that way.
Shame about the random guard whose body was used as a stand in for him, though.
Laenor living is an interesting change from the book and I wonder how if it will play into the future of the story?
There is a theory about Laenor’s future role going around but it is one I do not particularly like.
I will have to mention book spoilers, though, so I will explain what the theory is in in the section below.
As for Daemon and Rhanerya, they are finally able to marry, in a scene that is actually kind of funny when you see the disgusted faces of their children, Rhaena and Baela in particular.
I also wish we could have seen Viserys reaction, since he was so against any union between Rhanerya and Daemon in Episodes Four and Five.
All in all, “Driftmark” is one of the best episode of House of the Dragon so far.
It more than delivered on the Vhagar and Aemond storyline I have been waiting to see play out ever since I read “Fire and Blood.”


Book Spoilers Section:

Regarding Helaena’s prophecy this episode, I think it is a clear reference to the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons.
“Spools of green, spools of black; dragons of flesh weaving dragons of threads,” references the division between the blacks and the greens, leading to the Dance.
“Hand turns loom, spools of green,” references Otto’s work in the coup to put Aegon on the throne, and the greens in power, following Viserys’ death.
With my speculation for Helaena’s prophecy out of the way, I can now talk about the theory concerning Laenor’s survival.
This theory states that in Season Two of House of the Dragon, he will take on the role of Addam of Hull, the dragon seed who joins Rhanerya’s cause.
The theory is that Laenor will pose as his own bastard to come back and help Rhanerya, taking on the name Addam.
Personally, I am very much against this theory.
If Laenor is Addam, it would ruin Addam’s entire arc about proving the worth of bastards.
Rhanerya suspects him after Hugh Hammer and Ulf the White’s betrayal, something Rhanerya would never consider of Laenor.
Addam then flees to avoid arrest, only to rally Rhanerya’s supporters in an attempt to take back Tumbleton, dying in the fighting.
Having proven his worth, his brother Alyn then has the words “loyal” carved into Addam’s tombstone.
Laenor just does not fit into this storyline because he is not a bastard and he does not even have a brother to pose as Alyn.
Just keep Laenor and Alyn as seperate characters please.

The Wheel of Time, Episode Seven, The Dark Along the Ways Review: The Blood Snow.

I was pretty excited for Episode 7 of The Wheel of Time, “The Dark Along the Ways,” because the teasers showed that this would be the episode where we finally got to see the Blood Snow, and it certainly did not disappoint.
Directed by Ciaran Donnely, the Blood Snow is the cold open for the episode, and it is the best of the series, showing an Aeilwoman fighting on the slopes of Dragonmount while going through labour.
This whole action scene is probably the best shot scene of the entire series so far.
I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and the actress playing the Aeil, Magdalena Sittova, does a fantastic job.
Although, it is a little immersion breaking that the Aeil is able to kill so many trained soldiers while in labour.
It kind of reminded me of Mel from The Last of Us Part 2 who was also ridiculously doing death defying stunts while pregnant.
Still, I think it makes a lot more sense here because, again, the woman is Aeil, probably the best fighters in the Wheel of Time.
Also, the fight sequence is riveting and the action is great so my suspension of disbelief was ultimately maintained.

This scene expanded on the Blood Snow from the books in such an excellent fashion.

The epic fight finally ends with the Aeilwoman preparing to give birth, only to be confronted by yet another soldier, before cutting to the opening credits.
Following this cliffhanger and the credits, we go back to our main characters traveling in the Ways, with the exception of Mat, whose actor Barney Harris left so they had to write him out.
One thing that impressed me about this episode was actually how well they did so.
They did not just forget about Mat, he is brought up throughout, and there are quite a few teases for what will happen to him next season, when he is played by Donal Finn, like with Moiraine sending the Red Ajah after him.   
The only thing I found questionable about it is Moiraine’s perception of Mat, believing he would “turn to the shadow” if he were the Dragon.
When I first saw this moment I chuckled thinking, oh, Moiraine, you don’t understand Mat at all.
However, then I pondered whether this was not Moiraine misinterpreting Mat’s character but the writers and I became a bit concerned for where his character could go.
I will explain why further down in the spoiler section.
In any case, the characters continue moving on through the Ways, with Perrin eventually spotting a guiding that has been damaged by something.
This means Loial will need time to dechiper it, asking for the other’s patience, resulting in the best joke of the episode when Rand says, “if he’s asking for patience, then we’re gonna die.” 
It does feel like this joke was meant for Mat, as it seems more in character for him to say it than Rand, but I do understand why he had to be the one because of Barney Harris’ departure.
Moiraine ignores Rand’s concerns and the group decide to rest in the Ways, only for them to be attacked by a Trolloc, which is blasted off the path by Rand channeling. 
Rand doing this was done in such a subtle way that show only viewers would think it was Egwene but book readers like myself would understand it as a hint for Rand being the Dragon Reborn.

The subtle hints that Rand is the Dragon Reborn are done great.

However, this does not end the trouble, because Rand channeling summons Machin Shin, the Black Wind.
The group rush to the Waygate door to Fal Dara to escape Machin Shin, but it catches up to them before they can get out, whispering things they don’t want to accept about themselves to them.
It’s not as creepy as it was in the books but it was serviceable for what comes.
Anyway, the group is able to escape, thanks again to Nynaeve, and they arrive at Fal Dara, entering the city where they are “welcomed” by Lord Agelmar (Thomas Chaanhing), who is not happy to see Moiraine, thinking his sister Lady Amalisa (Sandra Yi Sencindiver) summoned her.
Although he does calm down when Moiraine warns him about the Trollocs in the ways.
Too late though because we see the figure who was following them in the Ways come through, and Perrin later thinks he sees Padan Fain in the city.
After this, Moiraine goes to see Min, another character I have been excited to see.
I will admit that I am not quite sure how to feel about the actress who plays her, Kae Alexander, at this point.
Her performance does feel a bit different from what I expected as a book reader, but I don’t hate it.

I think I just need to see more of Kae Alexander in Season Two before I come to a decision on how I feel about her performance.

Although I am unsure of Alexander as Min, I think the show did a really good job of showing her visions, even if the editing of this scene did become a bit weird at one point.
Her scene also ends rather ominously, as Min tells Moiraine that she saw the Amyrlin Seat will be her downfall.
From here, we move on to what is undoubtedly the worst scene of the episode.
It begins well enough, with Moiraine warning them that whoever goes to the Eye of the World and is not the Dragon Reborn will die.
However, once she and Lan leave we get the dreaded love triangle.
Why, oh, why did the writers have to resort to Perrin also having feelings for Egwene?
It just was not needed and it made the scene feel so contrived.
Thankfully, it seems this is just a single episode plotline and I really hope that it stays that way. 

I remember hearing Machin Shin telling Perrin that he loved another woman and I got very concerned at that point. Sadly, the love triangle was followed through on.

At least after the worst scene of the episode we get one of the best, with Nynaeve following Lan, watching through a window as he meets up with some close friends who call him “Dai Shan.”
The music during this moment is fantastic and I love Nynaeve and Lan’s chemistry in the show, as seen when Lan ambushes her like a ninja and invites her inside.
This eventually leads to the two of them sleeping together for the first time and Lan telling her how he is the king of a long gone kingdom, Malkier.
Their relationship has definitely progressed a lot faster and differently than it did in the books but I enjoyed it and am looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Then, we get the big moment of the episode: the reveal of the Dragon Reborn.
After reconciling with Egwene and sleeping with her, Rand returns outside and begins to accept that he is the one destined to fight the Dark One.
We see that he really did channel when he broke down the ironwood door in episode three, and when he saved Egwene earlier in the Ways.
It also revealed that Machin Shin spoke to him about being the Dragon Reborn, which made a lot of sense because I thought it was weird that he was so torn up, when all it seemed to talk to him about in the beginning was Egwene.
Rand visits Min for further confirmation and we then see how she saw a vision of his birth in the past, with Tam stumbling across Rand’s mother giving birth and helping her.
When she died, Tam took the baby to raise in the Two Rivers.
This episode really reminded me of why I loved Tam so much in the books.

Tam al’Thor is an excellent father.

Rand then goes to Moiraine and admits that he is the Dragon Reborn and the two leave for the Blight, leaving the others behind as they realize what has happened, bringing an end to the episode.
Overall, I would say that “The Dark Along the Ways” is my third favourite episode in The Wheel of Time, right behind “The Flame of Tar Valon” and the “The Dragon Reborn.”
I know I said that I considered it better than Episode Six in my previous review but a rewatch of this episode put it down lower.
It just had a few too many issues, most notably the awful love triangle scene.
This said, most of the episode was great, especially the Blood Snow and Rand coming to accept himself as the Dragon Reborn.

Book Spoilers:

So, for the book spoilers section, I will start small with Moiraine’s comment about Mat.
As I said in my previous review of Episode Six, Mat is described as someone who would run into a fire for his friends in the books, so I find the idea that he would willingly join the Dark One to be a bit absurd.
Still, he had been under the influence of the Dagger from Shadar Logoth so maybe that would explain it.
But the show has been saying there is an inherit darkness to Mat for a while, which I am not quite sure how to feel about since this was not a thing in the books.
Could Mat be a jerk at times?
Yes, especially in the first couple of books, but he quickly proves himself as a loyal friend and hero, even if he is not accepting of either of those titles.
Another character who is different from the books is Lord Agelmar, who is way more unlikeable in the show.
Still, Agelmar is not a character I really cared for in the books, he was just okay, so I’m not too bothered by the change.
I feel the same way about the Machin Shin change, with the Black Wind just speaking to the characters rather than doing anything truly threatening.
This is a small part of the books so I can let it slide.
It also leads to Rand realizing he is the Dragon Reborn, which is great.
Speaking of that, Rand accepting this is probably the biggest change in the entire episode.
Rand goes on an entire soul searching arc for the first three books and it is only at the end of that third book that he completely accepts his destiny as the Dragon Reborn.
Here, he does it much sooner, however, I think it was done in a way that is actually true to Rand’s character from the books.
Here, Rand is told that whoever goes to the Eye of the World and is not the Dragon Reborn will die.
This makes him accepting his destiny sooner make plenty of sense because he obviously does not want Egwene, Nynaeve, or Perrin to die.
It is an interesting change, which is justified well by the story telling in the episode, and I am intrigued to see where it will go in Season Two, with a Rand who fully accepts himself as the Dragon Reborn.

Rand’s relization was well done, even if it is different from the books.

The show also clearly intends to keep some of his future storylines the same, as seen when Min prophecises three beautiful women, herself, Elayne and Aviendha.
Real humble, aren’t you, Min?
However, this positive change of Rand accepting his destiny sooner could not save Episode Eight, “The Eye of the World,” which is easily the worst episode of this entire first season.

As for “The Dark Along the Ways” though, it is still one of the best episodes of the show so far, with some intriguing changes.

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Seven, Assault Review: Attack on Nutcracker.

5 stars
And here I thought “Declaration of War” was an incredible adaptation of the manga.
Well, in comparison, episode seven of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Assault”, blew my expectations out of the water, in an episode that clearly surpassed the source material.
Way more dark and brutal than the two chapters it adapts, “Assault” is a visceral, heart pounding episode from start to finish that has me even more excited for how Mappa will adapt future chapters, some of which are the best in the entire manga.
Directed by Jun Shishido, the episode depicts the end of Eren and the Survey Corps’ horrific assault on the Liberio Internment Zone, where they completely demolish the Marleyan army and its prized Warriors.
Zeke, Pieck and Porco, all fall to the might of Eren and the Scouts, with only a severely injured Reiner left to stand against them by the end.
Before all of this craziness happens, though, “Assault” starts with an engaging beginning scene before the opening, hyping up the oncoming fight (if you can even call it that) between Levi and Zeke.
With Pieck and her panzer unit arriving to help Porco, numerous Scouts are cut down in a hail of gunfire, much to Mikasa and Levi’s horror.
However, Levi’s horror quickly turns to determination as his old enemy Zeke enters the battlefield and the epic fight between the two factions continues.
It is this fight that Falco emerges from the rubble to see, as Reiner managed to save them both by partially transforming when Eren began his attack.
However, Reiner is now in a bad state as a result of this attack and isn’t healing properly, which Falco realizes is because he has lost the will to live.
Reiner being absent puts the Warriors at even more of a disadvantage than they thought because, even though the Scouts are cornered in Marley, like Pieck points out, they have two aces up their sleeve.
The first of these aces comes in the form of the Colossal Titan himself, Armin, who launches an attack on the naval port, essentially tactical nuking it and killing hundreds if not thousands of people, unfortunately not all of them soldiers.
Armin sees this horror for himself because, after emerging from his Titan, he sees a small child in the rubble, looking up at him in horror, probably the same way he looked up in at the Colossal Titan when Bertholdt breached the wall, all those years ago.
How many innocent people did Armin kill in this attack?
All the haunted Armin knows for sure is that this horrifying experience is most likely what Bertholdt saw and felt on the day he broke the wall.
As for Armin’s Colossal Titan, I really have to applaud Mappa for making it look amazing as it did.
For one thing, it was entirely 2D, with not a hint of CGI.
Back when Wit Studio did their Colossal Titan in seasons two and three, it was entirely CGI to the point that it was slightly distracting but here it looked perfect.
As for the rest of the CGI in this episode, I thought it was fantastic as well.
Thankfully, the morons who threatened Mappa’s staff over the CGI last episode seem to have finally shut up about it now so this is a testament to how great everything looked.
Back to “Assault”, the second second ace the Scouts have up their sleeve is an airship that is flown to pick up the Scouts from Liberio, with Hange and a new character named Onyankopon in charge of flying it.
It is great to see Hange and Armin again, and their conversation about Armin’s planning being similar to Erwin’s shows how their character arcs will involve them trying to live up the legacy he left them with.
As for Onyankopon, I know from the manga that he is a pretty great side character, so I’m interested to see how he will be portrayed and voice acted in the anime.
In any case, their airship is a giant target, which is why it was so important for the Scouts to take the Warriors down before it got there, especially the Cart Titan with its Panzer Unit.
By the time the airship arrives, only Porco is left, Pieck and Zeke having been defeated.
Unfortunately for Porco, he screws up yet again and is defeated by Mikasa and Eren, leading to Eren using him to kill the Warhammer Titan.
I say “again” because the Warriors failing was 90% Porco’s fault here because of his complete arrogance in this battle.
Screw up number one for Porco: He doesn’t listen to Pieck telling him to stay back and protect Zeke, allowing both her and the war chief to be taken down by the Scouts.
Screw up number two: After seeing Pieck and Zeke have been defeated, he gives into his anger and attacks Eren in a blind rage, leading him to accidentally expose the Warhammer Titan’s weakness.
Finally, screw up number three: Porco doesn’t check his blind spot when going to attack Hange and Onyankopon’s airship, allowing Mikasa and Eren to dismember him, and then Eren uses him as a literal nutcracker to kill the Warhammer Titan and inherit her power.
Speaking of the nutcracker scene, wow, was that way more brutal and emotional compared to the manga.
The shots of Eren’s Titan looked absolutely demonic and the voice actor for Porco, Toshiki Masuda, did a fantastic job with showing Porco’s horror as he realized Eren is using him to kill Lara Tyber.
Another scene that is way more brutal than the manga is the deaths of the Panzer Unit, as it is shown that they have pictures of themselves and their family’s in their gun holes before they are killed by Sasha, Jean, and the other Scouts, making them much more sympathetic before they die.
Of course, there’s Armin’s attack on the port, which is also more horrifying, with the red glow giving it a real Evangalion vibe.
And then there’s the moment the episode hyped up right from the begging, Levi’s absolute slaughter of the Beast Titan.
Much like the first round, this couldn’t even be called a fight because Levi took the giant monkey down with just one hit, hatred glowing like a fire in his eyes.
Gabi, Falco and Magath then have to watch as Levi blows up the Beast Titan’s nape, supposedly with Zeke still inside, traumatizing the kids further.
The two have seen so much in the last few episodes, being betrayed and having their friends die in front of them, and this is only bringing them further into the black hole of hatred created for those on Paradis.
Gabi especially has fallen further down this rabbit hole of propaganda, now having the gate guards’ gun and declaring that she will kill Eren Jaeger.
Her and Falco’s voice actors also do an incredible job this episode, just like Porco’s, with their guttural screams for Reiner giving me chills.
It caused a response in Reiner as well, as he rises from the rubble, apparently ready to save Porco from being eaten and to face down Eren in round three.
Although, it doesn’t seem like this round will last very long considering that Reiner’s Titan is half formed, with much of its armor missing.
This is most likely due to his damaged state because of Eren’s transformation and his suicidal mindset, shown by his line of, “Why can’t you just let me die in peace!”
It does make for an epic cliffhanger, though, what with the intense music and great voice acting.
“Assault” is another brilliant episode in Attack on Titan‘s final season, delivering fantastic action, animation and voice acting.
I am now even more excited for the next episode, “Assassins’ Bullet”, and how well the chapter or chapters it covers could be adapted.

His Dark Materials Episode Seven Review, The Fight to the Death… That We Don’t See The End Of.

3 and a half stars
I was looking forward to the seventh episode of His Dark Materials, “The Fight to the Death” because it would adapt a scene I have fond memories of watching as a kid, the fight between Iorek Byrnison and Iofur Raknison.
This was a moment I really enjoyed when watching in The Golden Compass, the first adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series.
However, I felt that this scene left quite a bit to be desired this time around.
Sure, the CGI is fantastic as always but, compared to the weight and magnitude of the fight in the first adaptation I just was not feeling it.
This may be because the final part of the fight is off screen as opposed to the raw end of it from the movie.

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The Iorek vs Iofur fight was a disappointment compared to the movie, and even the books where I hear it is much more gruesome.

Unfortunately, this is not the only area where the episode falters.
Directed by Jamie Childs, “The Fight to the Death” has quite a few other issues, starting with the beginning when Lyra awakens after falling out of Lee’s airship at the end of the fantastic “The Daemon Cages” episode.
There is absolutely no explanation for how she, or any of the other characters who are revealed to have also fallen out of the airship, survived the fall.
They should at least have some broken bones but they are walking around like nothing happened.
It makes no sense.
Speaking of things that make no sense, did anyone else find it a bit forced how Mrs Coulter just manipulated Father MacPhail to let her tag along to kill Asriel?
He was the person most against bringing her but then he just suddenly decides to allow her to come after a quick talking to?
On the plus side, though, we did get another good look at the crazy side of Mrs Coulter at the beginning of the episode when she almost strangles the assistant from the previous episode who was revealed to have had her daemon removed.

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Crazy Mrs Coulter is best Mrs Coulter.

And, even if I did not buy Coulter manipulating Father MacPhail, I did buy Lyra manipulating Iofur.
In fact, I would say this is an improvement on the Golden Compass movie.
In that film, Lyra uses the alethiometer right in front of Iofur to find out that he killed his father.
But, given that Iofur works with the Magisterium, he should know what an alethiometer is so he should have realised this was a trick.
In this episode, however, the scene is changed because Lyra uses the alethiometer out of Iofur’s view, making her manipulation of him much more believable.
This manipulation earns her the name Lyra Silver Tongue when Iorek wins.
Along with Lyra’s growth, we also get plenty from Will this episode as he accidentally kills one of Boreal’s men in self defense when they breaks into his house.
I do feel that the way this scene was shot is a little off but I am still interested to see where this takes Will because he could potentially learn the truth about the alternate universe when he reads his father’s letters, which he retrieved.
Then there is Lee Scoresby, who is as likeable as ever, as he teams up with Serafina Pekkala to go and help Lyra.
And it looks like she and Roger will need all the help they can get because there is a new threat from an unexpected source… Lyra’s own father Asriel.

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Asriel just got a whole lot creepier after this episode.

As soon as Lyra shows up to rescue him he panics, shouting he did not send for her.
But then, when he sees Roger, his demeanor completely changes, with him being happy to see him.
Whatever Asriel is planning, he clearly needs a child for it to work and this does not look good for Roger.
I guess it makes sense now why Coulter and Asriel got together because they both appear to be willing to sacrifice innocent children to achieve their goals.
This finished off the episode with an intense cliffhanger to lead into the finale.
I just hope it can pick up in quality from this one.
Although far from bad, I found “The Fight to the Death” to be disappointing in terms of how certain scenes were adapted and how some things did not make sense.
Still, it was an enjoyable episode, nonetheless.

Watchmen Episode Seven An Almost Religious Awe Review: Another Fan Theory Confirmed.

4 and a half stars
I really need to start paying more attention to the Watchmen fan theories.
First, I rejected the Will is Hooded Justice theory because it did not make sense for everyone to think he was white but then it turned out to be true.
And then, I rejected the theory that Angela’s husband Cal is Dr Manhattan in disguise because he was supposed to be on Mars.
Well, David Semel’s episode seven of Watchmen, “An Almost Religious Awe” proved me wrong again because, you guessed it, Cal is secretly Dr Manhattan.
Although, I guess it is not so much of a secret now because the Seventh Kalvary know and are planning on capturing him and giving his powers to Senator Joe Keene Jr.
This actually explains how Angela survived the White Night.
Dr Manhattan saved her from the Seventh Kalvary but someone probably saw this and reported back, leading to the plan to turn Keene into the new racist Dr Manhattan.
Speaking of Keene, after episode five, I speculated that he might just be using the Seventh Kalvary and may not actually be a full on racist.
Well, I was wrong again because Keene is definitely that, complaining that it is difficult to be a white man in America… while he is a senator.
Hypocrisy at its finest.

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Sure, some of the white citizens of Nixonville are not well off, but Keene is a senator, Crawford was the chief of police and the president of the United States is Robert Redford, a white man. Is it really so hard to be one in the Watchmen universe?

In any case, Keene explains his plan to Laurie Blake who is captured by Chief Crawford’s wife in a scene that felt kind of stupid with how easily she was trapped.
Didn’t she used to be a superhero?
And I know in Watchmen the superheroes don’t have powers, except Dr Manhattan, but I would have thought Laurie would at least be skilled enough as an FBI agent and former hero.
On another note, it will be interesting to see how Laurie reacts to learning Cal is her ex Dr Manhattan.
It should create drama between her and Angela but they will probably be too occupied dealing with the Seventh Kalvary to worry about it.
It just remains to be seen who will rescue Laurie.
Will it be Looking Glass or the greatest hero of them all Lube Man?
Jokes aside, we get more hints to future reveals, mostly through Lady Trieu who reveals that Bian is a clone of her mother, as expected, and that her father will be joining them soon.
This has caused many to speculate that Ozymandias is her father and the message he sent was “SAVE ME DAUGHTER.”
I dismissed the Hooded Justice and Dr Manhattan theories and I was wrong about those so I am not dismissing this one.
As for Ozymandias, he appears is a farcical and flatulent scene where he is put on trial by the clones, headed by the Game Warden.
His only defense is a massive fart he lets out before he is judged as guilty through a jury of peers, a pen of pigs.

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The Ozymandias scenes only continue to get weirder and weirder as the series progresses.

Ozymandias will probably not be executed, though, because he has to link up with the main storyline somehow.
I have heard a theory that the meteorite strike in the fourth episode was actually him landing on earth and he is now trapped in the statue of himself and this seems pretty likely to me.
After all, I certainly have to start paying more attention to fan theories after I dismissed two of them, only for both of them to be right.
I remember the exact moment Lady Trieu started talking about how Dr Manhattan was disguised as a human on earth and I knew instantly it was Cal.
Honestly, I should have realised it was true earlier with how many hints there were.
Will said that Dr Manhattan could appear as any race, subtly telling Angela that he knew her secret.
And then there was the moment I mentioned when Cal told his kids that there is no heaven, and that when you die there is nothing, which was very apathetic and classic Dr Manhattan.
After realizing that the theory was right, I sat back and watched as Angela hit Cal in the head with a hammer to release Dr Manhattan.
I remember praying that she had not just lost her mind and murdered her husband in a fit of insanity but, thankfully, he really was Dr Manhattan, leading to a great cliffhanger for the next episode.

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Imagine if Angela had actually gone nuts and killed her husband because she believed he was Dr Manhattan. That would have been traumatizing.

It will be interesting to see how his relationship with Angela began and what led them to this point, especially with Angela’s tragic backstory that was revealed this episode, with her parents being killed by a suicide bomber and then her grandmother dying of a heart attack before she could be adopted.
Overall, “An Almost Religious Awe” is another great episode of Watchmen that has me excited for how the final two episodes are going to play out.
I have no idea how the Seventh Kalvary plan to take down Dr Manhattan since he is a literal god but it will be interesting to see.

My Hero Academia Season Four Episode Seven, GO! Review: It Gets Noisy.

3 and a half stars
The fight to rescue Eri officially began in the seventh episode of season four, the appropriately titled “GO!”
On par with the previous episode, “GO!” serves as good buildup for the fights that we will be seeing in subsequent episodes.
Picking up in the aftermath of Nighteye revealing the dark truth of what is happening to Eri, Deku and the other students are on standby while the pro-heroes try to find her locations.
It is during this time that we get both a lot of funny and emotional moments as the characters prepare themselves.
Deku and Mirio remain constantly intense and focused due to their desire to rescue Eri as seen by a touching scene where Iida and Todoroki attempt to share Deku up.
As for the other characters, they are a lot more comedic.
There is the funny moment when Bakugo demands to know what they have learned only for Kirishima to shout out that they can’t tell.
The funniest, and probably most adorable moment, though, comes after a text is sent out confirming Eri’s location has been found.
As Mirio meets outside with Nejire and Tamaki, Nejire has her implausibly long hair tied around her like a scarf in a humorously adorable moment.
However, “GO!” is not all fun and games as proven from the moment Nighteye discovers where Eri is.
This scene provides a flashback that perfectly shows Nighteye’s quirk in usage, much like a film projector, before the pro-heroes and students go to rescue the girl.
Unfortunately, Overhaul knows they are coming and goes to see the comatose boss of the Yakuza, apologizing to him because, “things are about to get noisy.”
And noisy they get because as soon as the police ring the doorbell one of the eight expendable bullets of the Shie Hissaikai bursts through the door, ready to fight.
This leads to a great display of many characters’ quirks, especially Ryukyu who turns into a dragon.
Another instance of a new quirk usage comes with Rock Lock who can freeze moving objects in place, which he uses to cross buildings.
Back to the action at hand, the characters rush towards the building to find Eri as the episode ends with Deku and Mirio thinking for the hundredth time that they will definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely, definitively save her.
That’s a lot of definitelys.
In any case, while the amount of time the two characters say this over the course of the episode does get repetitive, you can still clearly see their dedication to making up for not rescuing the girl earlier.
I would say that “GO!” is probably as good as the previous episode of My Hero Academia.
All of its buildup will finally payoff next episode with the eight expendable bullets coming into play, leading to standout moments from both Tamaki and Kirishima in future episodes.