The Promised Neverland, Season Two, Episode Six Review: A Terrible Case of Tell Don’t Show.

two out of five
It’s funny how a couple of episodes has been enough for me to pretty much lose all hope for The Promised Neverland Season Two.
Episodes Three and Four did concern me with all of their cut content, including the best character in the entire story being removed, but I was hopeful because of new scenes given to characters who needed it, like Isabella.
However, then Episode Five happened, cofirming that they had skipped the Goldy Pond Arc, causing everything to make absolutley no sense, including Norman’s return, which was incredibly rushed.
Then there was last week’s “episode”, where they just pointlessly recapped the entire story, including everything in season two for some weird reason, and that would have been completley pointless to do a review on.
Now, we have what looks like the final nail in the coffin for me: Episode Six.
Wow, was this a bad episode.
Directed by Yoshiki Katai, this episode commits the cardinal sin that almost every story should avoid completley, instead of when absolutley necessary, by telling instead of showing.
After Emma and Ray’s reunion with Norman, which lacks any emotion because of how short he has been gone in the anime, Norman goes on a long exposition spiel about what he’s been doing for the past year.
He explains how he was taken to be experimented on at a place called Lambda, how he escaped with the help of someone called Smee, who was then killed, and has since created a drug that he plans to use to cause all demons to degenerate, with all of this happening off screen.
This scene has to be one of the worst cases of telling and not showing that I have ever witnessed.
I will give the anime some credit, though, because this was not entirely its fault.
From what I recall, the manga did not show many of these events either and Norman just explained it through an exposition scene as well.
So, this poor moment is partially the manga’s fault and the anime is just adapting it.
However, the anime still does it way worse because even in the manga we do see at least some of Norman’s time in Lambda, what lead him there, and his plan actually makes sense because he has the means to do it.
Here, he has none of the resources he had in the manga so his plan to eventually use this drug to degenerate all demons is just stupid.
Just as annoying is Emma’s response to this because most of her character development has been cut along with the previous arcs.
Emma’s trauma and now wanting to find a way to make peace with the demons makes very little sense in this episode because it lacks any context because of these cuts.
This makes the attempted emotional moment where Ray convinces Emma to go and talk to Norman ring extremely hollow.
Speaking of Emma and Ray going to talk to Norman, it is here that we are officially introduced to his crew of Cislo, Barbara, Vincent and Zazie.
Honestly, I never really cared for these characters in the manga.
If anything, I actually found them all rather annoying, so it’s a very bitter pill to swallow for me that these are the characters the anime decided to adapt, instead of the likes of Yuugo, Lucas and Leuvis.
Barbara especially got on my nerves, what with her crazed rant at Emma, which, again, makes no sense because Emma has not gone through any events that would make her feel this way, like she did in the original story.
At least this leads into the one redeeming quality of the episode, where Emma and Ray tell Norman about Mujika and Sonju being able to survive without eating humans, causing Norman to look horrified, calling Mujika the “evil blooded girl.”
It makes for a good cliffhanger, which will surely have anime only viewers speculating.
Other than this, though, Episode Six is a flat out terrible episode, full of rushed scenes, annoying new characters, character incosistency, and one of the worst cases of telling instead of showing.
I now have very little hope for the rest of this adaptation and am honestly not looking forward to Episode Seven, or any other subsequent episode for that matter.
I hate to say it but The Promised Neverland Season Two is getting the Tokyo Ghoul treatment.

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Six, The Warhammer Titan Review: Marley Receives a Grim Reminder.

4 and a half stars
After last weeks incredible adaptation of “Declaration of War”, I and many others were excited for the next episode of Attack on Titan‘s final season, the highly anticipated “The Warhammer Titan.”
Well, in my opinion, the episode did not disappoint, delivering on some epic action set pieces and some epic returns.
Directed by Atsuishi Tsukasa and Takahiro Kaneko, the episode follows up on Eren’s attack on Willy’s speech at the end of episode five with his own grim reminder to the people of Marley and the world at large, resulting in countless deaths.
Before we get to this, however, the episode thankfully begins with a flashback to Willy’s time before the festival and his inevitable demise at Eren’s hands.
I mentioned in my review of “Declaration of War” that it would be unfortunate if Willy’s flashback scene with Magath was cut because it explains the motivations of both men perfectly.
After seeing the episode, I can say that I approve of the writers’ decision to move this flashback to the beginning of episode six because it works much better here.
Not only does ir allow Willy and Magath’s prior actions to become understandable with hindsight but it also adds an anime only scene that sees Willy say goodbye to his wife and many children, knowing full well that this is the last time he will see them all.
Following Willy’s goodbye, which serves to make his character even more sympathetic than he was in the manga, we finally get his conversation with Magath, explaining their actions in the previous episodes.
Willy dying during the speech at Eren’s hands was a planned, calculated move by Willy and Magath to get the rest of the world on their side, and potentially the interned Eldians’ side as well,  by making those at the festival “tragic victims. Victims of an “unforeseen attack.””
Magath has his doubts about this because of the potential number of casualties but Willy counters this by reminding Magath of his bias against Eldians and how they will be among the dead so he just needs to do as he always has done.
This brings an unexpected reaction from Magath because, while admitting that he believes Eldians are the descendants of devils, he also tells Willy, “there’s no doubt that we are devils ourselves.”
His comment here shows that he is different from most Marleyans because they would go on about how much better they are than those “devil spawn”, yet Magath chooses to believe he is also a devil because of his actions.
He definitely still has his prejudices that need to be worked over, but he shows probably more self awareness here than any Marleyan we have seen so far.
With this comment, Magath and Willy shake hands and the screen cuts to black, before the chilling sound of Eren’s roar is heard, and the episode cuts to Willy’s mutilated body being eaten like a piece of popcorn by Eren’s Titan.
As the crowd looks on in absolute horror, Eren turns to look at them, with his horrifying face making him look the devil itself.
From here, Eren’s attack on the world’s leaders, and unfortunate civilians who happen to be in attendance, continues, as he launches himself into the seats holding Marley’s military leaders, including the lead one from episode two.
He wanted a flying Titan?
Well, he got one, as Eren jumps into the air and then crashes down on him and many other military officers, killing all of them.
Unfortunately, it is not just these military leaders that are killed but children as well, with Zofia and Udo also falling victim to Eren’s horrific attack.
Zofia is crushed under a rock, so at least her end is quick and painless.
Sadly, this is not the case for Udo because he is slowly trampled to death in a stampede by the fleeing crowd, with his head literally missing a chunk.
This episode really has distressing imagery, as was highlighted by the opening warning, and this is showcased perfectly by the arrival of the titular Warhammer Titan, who is revealed to be Willy’s sister, Lara.
She is not given much time to transform because Eren wastes no times punching her right through a building, and then repeatedly smashes her face in his with hardened hands, which is where the bloody imagery comes in.
I’m really surprised the bloody remains of the Warhammer Titan’s face wasn’t censored but, at the same time, I’m so glad that it wasn’t because it perfectly suits the dark tone of this episode and the story to come.
Hopefully, this means other instances of disturbing or gory imagery won’t be censored.
Such censorship seems less likely though because of how much darker the Warhammer Titan’s counter attack is than it is in the manga.
She not only impales Eren on a giant spike, like she does in the manga, but there is also an anime only scene of civilians getting crushed by the debris created from this, including the drunk and the store owner we briefly met in episode four.
This massive amount of destruction alerts Pieck and Porco about what is going on from their entrapment.
However, the two of them are not out of the fight for long because it is revealed that Pieck managed to alert the Panzer Unit to the mysterious soldier who trapped them last episode.
Now that they have been rescued by Pieck’s simp squad, the two warriors are ready to join the fight and outnumber Eren, putting him at a disadvantage.
At least, this was their intention but it definitely does not work out because, right before they can formulate their plan of attack, the Scouts fly overhead, having got Eren’s letter and come to help his attack.
This results in an epic entrance from Mikasa, as she saves Eren when is he about to be killed by the Warhammer Titan, with the hype declaration from Eren, “now or never, Mikasa.”
It’s not the happy reunion we would hope for though because Mikasa is horrified that Eren has not just called civilians but children as well.
Her tearful expression as she says this is a perfect adaptation from the manga, one that doesn’t seem to affect Eren much, unless he’s internalizing all of his pain caused by his own actions.
In any case, if Eren does have such feelings of guilt he has to push them aside to fight the Warhammer Titan, which has mysteriously recovered from its nape being blown up.
In order to have its true weak point exposed, Eren has Mikasa distract the Warhammer Titan in the hopes that he can eventually eat it, thus securing its powers.
While this is happening, the episode takes the time to reintroduce all of the scouts that we know and love.
Well, at least in the case of Jean, Sasha and Connie because there is still the morally questionable Floch around, justifying him and his squad’s attack on civilians by saying Eren is a devil, who’s example is one they should follow.
Jean rightly puts him in his place, after being epically reintroduced by taking down a, Marleyan soldier, which is unfortunately all in CGI, more on this later.
As for the reintroduction of Connie and Sasha, this takes an even darker route, as Sasha snipes the two Marleyan guards who were actually nice to Gabi, right in front of her, before departing with Connie, after they place signal lights on the building.
This grim reminder for Marley will certainly create a lot of Eren types, ready for revenge against Paradis, and Gabi is definitely one of them, as evidenced by her gritting her teeth in rage so hard that we can literally hear them rattling, followed by her grabbing one of the dead guard’s rifles.
Back to the fight between Mikasa and the Warhammer Titan, Eren has used her distraction to finally locate Lara Tyber, who is under the stage because the Warhammer Titan’s user can exist outside the main body and control the form with a cord.
Eren swan dives off the building and grabs this cord, although before this there is a slight inconsistency of Eren’s right pants leg having mysteriously grown back.
That’s only a small thing though because the action of the episode drew me right back into the moment, as Eren pulls Lara out from under the stage in a crystal, much like Annie after she was captured, and disconnects her from her Titan.
Before he can eat her though, Porco interrupts, catching Eren unawares and ready to eat him.
He would have succeeded it to had it not been for Levi himself, who cuts Porco’s jaw so he can’t bite down, forcing him to flee.
Not that he gets very far because a Thunder Spear blows him right off the building and he is quickly surrounded by the battle hardened scouts.
Porco is both confused and horrified about how the scouts are going to try and kill him, not understanding because he thought himself superior as a Titan.
Well, the scouts have just proved him wrong, moving in to slaughter him.
Porco was definitely right about one thing though, these are “the devils of Paradis” as Levi looks especially demonic, rushing in to kill Porco and bringing an exciting cliffhanger for the episode.
So, overall, a fantastic episode, no problems, right?
Oh, how I wish this was the case because now we have to talk about fandom toxicity.
Every fandom has its toxic side but Attack on Titan‘s reared its ugly head in the aftermath of this episode.
A lot of the episode was CGI, from the Titans to the Scouts, and this angered many “fans” to the point that they harassed not only the directors and animators of the episode, but people who didn’t have anything to do with the episode, like “Declaration of War’s” director.
No matter what you may think of the CGI, attacking someone over it is never acceptable.
Criticize all you want but never harass.
Personally speaking, I didn’t even think the CGI was that bad for the most part, especially with the Titans.
Does it look as good as Wit’s 2D Titans?
No, but it still looks good, even spectacular at times.
If anything, my main problem with the CGI is its usage on the Scouts, like during Jean’s introduction.
The CGI there looks particularly sketchy to the point that I was drawn out of the scene for a couple of seconds.
However, most of these CGI for the Scouts come in quick shots, not giving viewers time to notice, unless they deliberately paused certain moments, so it mostly works fine.
Even though I do have a bit of a problem with the CGI on the Scouts though, I still think the CGI is good overall and nothing to get angry over.
In any case, it is certainly never okay to attack Mappa staff, even if the CGI were atrocious, which, again, I don’t think it is.
So, all in all, “The Warhammer Titan” is a great follow up to last week’s amazing “Declaration of War.”
I can’t wait to see how the remaining chapters of the Marley Arc are adapted and hopefully there won’t be any more toxicity surrounding it.

His Dark Materials Episode Six, The Daemon Cages Review. Dafne Keen is Superb.

5 stars
After the intense cliffhanger of “The Lost Boy,” His Dark Materials delivers the best episode so far with its sixth one, “The Daemon Cages.”
Directed by Euros Lyn, the story picks up with Lyra and Pan trapped in Bolvanger, where the Gobblers are experimenting on children by separating them from their daemons.
And, before I get into how well done this episode is, I would like to address an issue I have heard people voice about the daemons, or rather the lack of them, in the episode.
The budget of His Dark Materials has forced the animators to limit the amount of daemons on screen, which means the close bond between them and their human is not as well captured as in the novel.
I have heard many say that this makes for a much less impactful storyline because the threat of the children losing their daemons is diminished because we do not see much of them.
Now, while I can see why this would be a problem for many, personally, this did not really affect me because I still felt fearful for these kids losing their daemons.
This comes down to two things.
One, the death of Billy Costa in the last episode raises the stakes.
And two, even though there are not many daemons on screen, I still felt the connection because of how the bonds between the daemons and the children are portrayed whether they have been separated or not.
There is the nurse who is revealed to have been separated from her Daemon Nicholas and has been brainwashed into working with the Gobblers in a hard hitting scene.

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The extent that the nurse and the children are affected after having been separated from their daemons is chilling and shows just how important a daemon is to its partner in this world.

Then there is Lyra and Pan whose bond is best shown when Pan is grabbed by one of the Gobblers as Lyra tries to escape, causing her to fall to the floor in pain.
Speaking of Lyra, Dafne Keen is fantastic in this episode.
I could feel the fear of her being captured by Mrs Coulter when she came to inspect the children’s room, her desperation to not to be separated from Pan, and her encounter with Mrs Coulter, which is the best part of “The Daemon Cages.”
She does an amazing job acting alongside Ruth Wilson, especially with her vicious comeback to Coulter of “Billy Costa is dead.”

keen done it again.png
Dafne Keen gives her best performance of the series so far in this episode.

As for Wilson, she is just as great with her performance again being representative of her monkey, both in her posture and manipulative nature.
But Lyra is more like her mother than Coulter realizes because she is successfully able to manipulate her into opening the case with the spy fly, giving her an opportunity to escape.
From here the episode divulges into absolute chaos as the Gyptians finally arrive to save the children with Lee, Iorek and Seraphina in tow.
Honestly, though, Seraphina did most of the work because she is basically a one woman army, killing multiple Gobblers before anyone else can react.
As for the Gobblers, I liked how the episode focused some of its time on their motivations, even though they all died by the end of the episode, with the exception of Mrs Coulter.
They may still be terrible people but I am glad they did not come across as evil for the sake of evil, like some members of the Magisterium have in previous episodes.
With the Gobblers now dead and the children rescued, Lyra, Roger, Iorek, and Lee set out in the airship with the hopes of rescuing Lord Asriel.
Seraphina then shows up briefly to tell Lee he has to protect Lyra… only for him to immediately lose her when they are attacked by monsters known as cliff-ghasts.

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Talk about failing to live up to expectations, eh Lee? Only kidding. I still really enjoy his character.

In any case, this moment felt like a horror movie with the suspense and tension in the scene leaving me shaking slightly, especially with the cliffhanger of Lyra falling out of the airship.
I have no idea how she will survive the fall but next episode we are getting the fight between Iorek and Iofur, which is the moment I remember most from the movie.
It will definitely be interesting to see how that is adapted.

 

Watchmen Episode 6 This Extraordinary Being Review: The Beginning of Justice.

5 stars
Every episode of Watchmen just gets better and better and the sixth episode, “This Extraordinary Being” is no exception, being the best episode of the series so far.
Directed by Stephen Williams, the story follows a young Will Reeves (Jovan Adepo) as Angela experiences many of his memories due to the large amount of Nostalgia drugs she consumed in “Little Fear of Lightning.”
It is though her experiencing her grandfather’s memories that the fan theory of Will being Hooded Justice, the very first superhero in the Watchmen universe, is confirmed.
I was on the fence about this theory before it was finally revealed.
Although, I knew that it would make sense for the story thematically and that Hooded Justice’s costume could be representative of a black man surviving a lynching, I was skeptical because it would make no sense for everyone to think Hooded Justice was white if he was Will.
Thankfully, this did not turn out to be a plot hole because Will is shown to be applying makeup to make himself appear to be white, knowing that if the white public knew he was black he would be labelled a criminal.

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Everyone believing Hooded Justice was white was the one thing that kept me from believing the theory that Will was him so I’m glad they explained it with the makeup. 

This racist ideology of the community is proven time and time again by Will’s experiences, leading up to him becoming Hooded Justice.
We are given a front row seat at how corrupt and racially charged the police force is.
However, the truth of the matter is even darker because many of the police are revealed to be part of a secret KKK society known as the Cyclops.
This is slowly revealed through a member of the group named Fred (Glen Fleshler), who was arrested by Will for burning down a Jewish shop, being released without charge.
It is Will’s arrest of Fred that leads to the Cyclops targeting him, with him nearly being lynched by the racist cops.
Stumbling home, he then comes across a couple being attacked and, driven by his trauma both old and new, dons the hood and hangman’s noose and charges in to help, becoming Hooded Justice.
While in most stories this would be the start of an inspirational story of Will triumphing over evil, this is not how it works in Watchmen‘s world.
With the exception of his wife, June (Danielle Deadwyler), who was the baby Will rescued after the Tulsa Massacre, he is very much alone in his fight.
Even his fellow heroes will not help, with Will’s lover, and leader of the Minute Men, Captain Metropolis (Jake McDorman) caring more about publicity than actually helping people.
As the years go by, the situation with Cyclops gets worse as no one listening to Will eventually leads to the organisation carrying out an attack by brainwashing a black audience watching a movie to riot.
Metropolis once again brushes Will off about the threat the group poses and this, combined with more racist taunts from Fred, causes Will to take matters into his own hands, killing Fred and many members of the group.
He even steals one of their brainwashing devices to fight back, only to find that he has alienated June and his son, with them going back to Tulsa because of his anger.
From here, the episode cuts to many years in the future to reveal that Will really was the one who killed Judd, using his brainwashing device to have him kill himself.
This is one of the most interesting scenes of the episode because it shows a lot about both characters.

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The scene between Will and Judd was probably my favourite of the episode.

For one thing, it raises a whole lot of questions about Judd and his involvement with the Kalvary, which appears to be descendant from Cyclops.
Judd tells Will he is trying to “help you people” but the “you people” part does seem to have some kind of racist implications.
Still, I think there may be more to Judd than him just being a completely evil Kalvary member.
As for Will, I love the moment when Judd asks who he is and Will replies “justice.”
In the years since we last saw him, Will has thrown away the hood, no longer hiding, and this line perfectly portrays that.
Now, as to what happened between the time Will killed the members of Cyclops and his killing of Crawford is a complete mystery.
There is a lot of years between these two points so it will be interesting to see how he became involved with Trieu.
Speaking of her, Angela wakes up in her care but how she got there is unclear right now as well.
From the promo for next episode, I can guess we will learn more about Angela’s past in Vietnam, which could also lead to us learning more about Will and Trieu.
Back to “This Extraordinary Being” I have got to say that the direction of the episode is incredible.
The representation of the trauma Will has with the constant colored in hallucinations of the Tulsa Massacre is very disturbing, especially when Will hallucinates that the car driven by Cyclops police members is dragging dead bodies.
Along with this, the passing of time is also portrayed brilliantly, as are the transitions between Will and Angela as she experiences his memories.
Probably the best example of this comes when the memory literally freezes in place as Laurie and Cal try to get Angela out of there but fail to do so.

freeze frame
This moment when the memory freezes as Laurie and Cal try to pull Angela out of it is a great shot.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find just how many historical elements have been thrown into this episode, like the first black police officer of New York, Samuel J. Battle (Philly Plowden), who makes a brief appearance.
“This Extraordinary Being” is easily Watchmen‘s best episode so far.
The only issue I have with it is that it doesn’t really make sense for Will to be kidnapped by three Cyclops members so easily, only to be beating them to a pulp with relative ease not long after.
Other than this minor problem, though, “This Extraordinary Being” is a fantastic episode that manages to be dark, depressing, and full of many great character and historical moments, supported by the top notch direction.

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

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