Being Reiner sucks.
I’m sure that’s a thought that passed through many viewers’ minds upon watching the third episode of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “The Door of Hope.”
Directed by Kōki Aoshima and Hiromi Nishiyama, the episode details the many, many, many times that life has kicked Reiner to the ground and then spat on him for good measure.
If you hated Reiner in prior seasons for his actions, then you may find it rather difficult to hate him after what we see him go through, as “The Door of Hope” is primarily a flashback episode to Reiner’ time as a Warrior on Paradis.
Before the episode gets to that point though, it starts off with Reiner’s humble beginnings, as his mother revealed to him as a child that his father was a Marleyan and the only way they could all be together was if they became honorary Marleyans.
This motivates Reiner to become a hero to the world by slaughtering the “island devils” so that both his parents will be proud of him.
However, this is easier said than done because Reiner is by far the weakest out of all the Warrior candidates, as pointed out by Porco.
This causes Reiner to go full brainwashed indoctrination mode, accusing Porco of being a Restorationist sympathiser, which results in him getting punched to the ground, not the last time this will happen in the episode.
Unfortunately, it is also here that I have to state one of my criticisms of “The Door of Hope”, which is the soundtrack used for this scene.
The music itself is great but it doesn’t suit the scene at all, being more fitting for an action scene than a dialogue driven one and this drew me out of the moment.
Still, the scene makes up for it with its showcases of Annie and Bertholdt, and the symbolism.
Bertholdt helps Reiner to his feet, showing his good nature that would later be corrupted by what he does on their mission in Paradis as the fearsome Colossal Titan.
This is contrasted by Annie, who seems well suited for the Female Titan already, crushing a bug under her feet, just like she would go on to crush the numerous Scouts who got in her way when she tried to capture Eren both times.
With this characterization done, the scene then transitions into some fantastic symbolism when, while Reiner looks up at the Wall separating the Liberio Eldians from the Marleyans, on Paradis, presumably at the same time, Eren looks up at the walls separating him from freedom.
Both are trapped by walls and both are now given the opportunity to move forward past them. Reiner now has the motivation to become a Warrior so he can achieve his goal of becoming an Honorary Marleyan, and Eren is being approached by Armin with the book that will create his motivation to strive for freedom, no matter how far he will have to go to achieve it.
Following this great piece of symbolism, showing how similar Eren and Reiner are, we then get the first of many scenes that are improvements from the manga.
The first of these is the recap of six of Marley’s Titans, as we see them destroy an enemy nation’s military with a display of each of their powers and a description of their users.
The way this scene is edited with the files of each Warrior, followed by their power being shown, and this all ending with the portrayal of the Colossal Titan’s nuke attack as a “god of destruction” is way more intense than it was in the manga.
Another step up comes when Marcel is eaten by Ymir, which is framed like a scene from a horror film.
This moment came after Marcel revealed to Reiner that the only reason he became a Warrior was because he spoke up for him while criticizing Porco to the military, which he did to save his brother from shortening his lifespan by inheriting a Titan.
Marcel revealing this before he dies saving Reiner is just another in a long list of Reiner being kicked while he’s down, both figuratively and literally.
Figuratively, when he first meets his father only for him to call him and his mother a devil and run away from him, and literally, when Annie almost kicks Reiner to death after they lose Marcel.
The latter scene is particularly brutal, with some fantastic work from Annie’s voice actress, Yū Shimamura, in a scene that tells us so much about Annie’s mental state, being the least brainwashed of the trio, recognizing that both Marleyans and Eldians are liars, and only wanting to get back to her father.
However, it is following this great scene that again tops the manga, that we get a scene where the manga is clearly better, this time because of cuts.
The moment where Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt destroy the walls is almost completely cut, with old footage from season one primarily being used.
Annie’s involvement in destroying the wall, Bertholdt looking up at it upon arriving, and Reiner’s desperate fight to protect them in the chaos, is all cut for the sake of time.
Yet, while it is disappointing to see that these scenes have been left out, they are not essential to understanding the story so it is not a massive loss.
Thankfully, other, more important scenes are not cut, like the one with the villager who kills himself in the settlement after telling the Warriors his backstory.
This moment with the villager is important because it is his backstory that Bertholdt uses as their cover when he and Reiner are first introduced in season one, creating another rewarding find for viewers upon rewatches.
Another cool moment comes with Kenny making a brief cameo, as Annie tracks him to try and find the Founding Titan, only to realize this was a big mistake because of how dangerous Kenny is.
With some quick thinking and some good old kicking, Annie manages to evade the Ripper and report back to Reiner and Bertholdt, causing Reiner to decide they need to breach Wall Rose, leading to the attack in Trost.
Before cutting back to the traumatic present, we get one more symbolic scene between Eren and Reiner, as Reiner, after realizing he sees himself in Erne, encourages him to keep moving forward, a piece of advice he will sincerely regret giving later on.
Then we get another improvement on the manga, in the most gruesome of ways, with Reiner’s suicide attempt in the present.
Coming into “The Door of Hope”, I was concerned that this scene would be censored based off the trailer.
They showed the whole thing in disturbing detail and even add things, like Reiner’s gasping after he thankfully decides not to go through with it because of a miraculous unintended interruption from Falco.
And Falco’s reward for unintentionally saving Reiner’s life?
Well, running into the most dangerous person in the world of course!
The reveal of Eren in the final moments of this episode is fantastic, with some stellar voice acting from Yuki Kaiji and great added symbolism with the tree behind him.
The build up to this scene was also great, with the previous episode hyping up his appearance in a subtle way that some anime only viewers picked up on and others didn’t.
It is in his conversation with Falco that Eren lays out the very themes of the episode, as he speaks of those who push themselves into hell for hope or just for another hell, and that the only ones who know what lies beyond are those who keep moving forward.
Well, Reiner has been trying to push the door open on hope for a while now and got nothing but misery, yet Eren seems determined to find hope, even if he has to go through hell and drag everyone with him to get there.
Overall, “The Door of Hope” is a great Attack on Titan episode that does a fantastic job of showing the suffering of Reiner and what comes of it.
It looks like we have only one more episode before we get to the adaptation of the amazing Chapter 100 and I, honestly, cannot wait.
Hope you all have a merry Christmas.
Watchmen‘s third episode, “She Was Killed By Space Junk” is the best episode of the series so far with the role of main character temporarily switching from Angela Abar to Jean Smart’s Laurie Blake.
Directed by Stephen Williams, the story of the episode centers on Laurie being brought into the Seventh Calvary Case while flashing forward to her sending a message to Dr Manhattan through a phone to mars.
This message is a joke about three heroes, Dr Manhattan, Ozymandius and Night Owl, who appear before god to receive judgement.
All three go to hell until god sees a woman standing behind them who identifies herself as the girl who a threw a brick from the joke Laurie appeared to screw up earlier.
The brick falls from the sky and kills god, sending him straight to hell.
The flash forwards to Laurie’s joke are the best part of the episode because I was very intrigued by what the joke ended up being.
Personally, I think it has great thematic purpose with the girl who threw the brick clearly being representative of Laurie, and the joke itself being similar to Rorschach’s Pagliacci joke from the original graphic novel.
Dr Manhattan also seems to appreciate the gag because Angela’s car, which Will escaped in last episode, descends from the heavens, nearly crushing Laurie like god’s head got crushed by the brick.
In all likelihood, though, the car was most likely dropped by the people who rescued Will who want Laurie to become a part of the case for as an unknown reason.
But, for the moment at least, Laurie seems to believe it is Dr Manhattan, bursting out into laughter, being very reminiscent of her father The Comedian.
With this, and the fact that she has taken on his last name, it is apparent that Laurie has started to feel some kinship with her destructive father over the years.
As for the rest of the episode, it is also great with Laurie being revealed as part of a vigilante capture task force of the FBI.
Night Owl is also revealed to be in prison.
Laurie actually drives quite a few comedic interactions as well, like with Looking Glass, Red Scare (Andrew Howard), and Pirate Jenny (Jessica Camacho).
Then there is her Dr Manhattan dildo, which is a real “wait, what!?” moment.
Laurie also has a few action moments as well, shooting the Seventh Calvary member with the suicide vest who tries to kidnap Senator Joe Keene JR (James Wolk).
Speaking of him, I think it is pretty apparent that he will most likely be involved somehow in the conspiracy Will mentioned.
The fact that he was at Judd’s house where Angela found the Ku Klux Klan robe last episode also supports this.
Aside from these individual moments, however, one of my favourite things about the episode is its soundtrack with Laurie having a killer theme.
This soundtrack accompanies her pretty much through the entire episode, apart from the Ozymandias scenes and, unfortunately, it is these ones that keep the episode from being perfect.
While the scenes are great I do have a few flaws with them, like the CGI Buffalo, which look completely fake.
Then there is the official reveal that Ozymandias is… well, Ozymandias.
This was presented as some kind of shocking twist but I am pretty sure we all knew it was him going in so they did not need to act like it was some big moment.
Other than this, though, Ozymandias’ scenes are still intriguing, with us learning he is the captive of “the game warden.”
There are multiple theories about who this game warden could be but the most likely seems to be Dr Manhattan.
We will just have to wait and see as Ozymandias’ escape plan slowly comes to fruition.
Overall, “She Was Killed by Space Junk” is the best episode of Watchmen so far with just a few scenes holding it back from being a truly fantastic episode.
“Boy Meets…” is the perfect title for My Hero Academia season four’s third episode because it is all about Deku meeting and interacting with multiple characters for the first time.
Sir Nighteye is the the most obvious meeting, with more than half the episode focusing on him and Deku’s interactions.
Their conversation and later game did a great job of emphasizing the parallels between them, with multiple similarities and differences.
Despite Nighteye not liking Deku because of how he views him as usurping Miro’s chance of inheriting One For All, they are still similar with the both of them being massive All Might fans with their own ways of showing that.
Nighteye looks past these similarities, though, still not believing Deku to be worthy of One For All and tests him by having Deku try to defeat his quirk foresight, which allows him to accurately predict his decisions for an hour.
Deku both fails and succeeds in the test, failing to grab the stamp Nighteye is holding but succeeding in making sure he does not damage all of Nighteye’s All Might merchandise.
This shows that Deku is able to multitask in his fighting, proving himself to Nighteye, even if he was planning to accept him no matter what.
However, Nighteye’s intentions in accepting Deku are not entirely pure because he hopes to convince him to give up One For All to Mirio.
This meeting sets up both Deku and Nighteye very well for their arcs in this storyline.
What is by far the most exciting scene, though, is Deku’s second meeting of the episode with Eri and Overhaul in the after credits scene.
I am overjoyed to see Eri make her appearance in the series because she is one of my favourite characters and the centerpiece of the season.
Deku’s meeting with her and Overhaul also gets the ball rolling for the big story of the arc so I cannot wait to see this first meeting truly play out next episode.
Aside from these two well done first meetings, the rest of “Boy Meets…” is more decent setup that is actually anime original.
The scene of Aizawa informing Uraraka and Tsuyu that Nejire wants to talk to them, and telling Kirishima that Amajiki wants to meet with him, is probably added to provide a starting point for where we will see these characters in subsequent episodes.
Most interesting, though, is the moment Aizawa tells Tokoyami that the Number Three Pro Hero, Hawks, has offered him an internship.
For those of you expecting to see the two working together, I would not get your hopes up.
This is because Hawks does not have a role in the arcs season four will be covering and will not get a big part in the story until the fifth season.
As a result, this mention of Hawks is most likely just fan service to hype up his future appearance.
Although, who knows?
Maybe we could get an anime only scene of Hawks and Tokoyami’s internship this season.
That would be interesting.
Overall, “Boy Meets…” is a good setup episode for My Hero Academia that both builds up Nighteye’s character arc and gets the ball rolling with Overhaul and Eri’s role in the story through them meeting Deku.
It will be great to see the first interaction Deku and Mirio have with Overhaul and Eri in the next episode.