My Hero Academia Season Four Episode 25, His Start Review: Ending the Season With a Bang!

5 stars
Coming into My Hero Academia‘s season four finale, many manga readers, including myself, were hoping beyond belief that the adaptation of Endeavor’s fight with the Nomu, High End, would be done justice.
Well, those hopes were definitely fulfilled because “His Start” is not only a fantastic adaptation of the battle between the two but also one of the anime’s best episodes, right up there with “Infinite 100%”, “Lemillion”, “Shoto Todoroki: Origin”, and “One For All.”
The episode starts off with Endeavor’s two oldest children, Fuyumi and Natsuo, visiting their mother, Rei, in the hospital she now resides.
It is here that Natsuo brings up many of the terrible things Endeavor did in the past, showing that even though he is now trying to change, that does not fix all of the horrible things he did to his family.
This is an important thing to note because many have accused Horikoshi of trying to force the readers to forgive Endeavor but Natsuo mentioning Endeavor’s crimes proves that viewers are being given the opportunity to judge him for themselves.
In any case, Rei does counter Natsuo’s belief that Endeavor wants everyone to forget what he has done by pointing out the flowers that she believes he sent her while she was in hospital.
But did Endeavor really send Rei the flowers?
I have a theory that it may have been someone else but that may turn out to be a spoiler so I won’t say who I really think sent them.
However, even if it turns out that Endeavor did not send those flowers, His Start still makes it very clear that he is trying to face his family and what he has done, as Rei says.
This is put on clear display in the fight between Endeavor and High End, where clear parallels between the two are made.
High End has been designed to fight the strongest opponent and beat them no matter the cost, just like Endeavor wanted to best All Might as the number one hero and hurt his family to try and achieve this.
Endeavor himself points out this parallel by telling High End, right before he puts him down, “you are me… from the past… or another future. Burn up… and be put to rest.”
This can be viewed as Endeavor literally killing the abusive part of himself to move forward as a better person and hero, as the new symbol of peace.
Such an interpretation is further established by the amazing adaptation of Endeavor’s pose after defeating High End, with him rising up from the fire, first in the air, as the music swells.
The emotional weight of this scene can also be felt in the build up to this epic moment, especially with Endeavor getting his scar, which I’m sure resulted in many anime only fans thinking it was the end for him.
Helping these impactful moments is the fantastic animation and music, which is just as good as it was in “Infinite 100%”.
Props to Endeavor’s voice actor Tetsu Inada as well for his fantastic performance, with his shouting of Plus Ultra and Prominence Burn.
Hawks also shines both through his fighting skills and in his character development through the showcasing of his admiration for Endeavor, as he could see that the flame hero was the only one seriously trying to surpass All Might.
Although, if he ever does learn the truth about Endeavor this admiration will quickly sour.
But, for now, this is Endeavor’s moment and he has truly begun his path to atoning for all the wrongs he has done, a journey that will surely be expanded upon in Season Five.
Speaking of the next season, we get a great tease in a post credits scene where Deku has a dream, seeing the past users of One For All, including the first user, One For All’s brother, who calls Deku the ninth.
This is a scene that will have monumental importance, not just for the next arc, but for the entirety of My Hero Academia’s story, and it will be interesting to see how it is adapted in Season Five.
As for the season finale though, “His Start” was a fantastic way to conclude season four.
I was a little worried that it would end at a different point, creating a cliffhanger that ultimately wouldn’t amount  to much, but, thankfully, the episode ended at just the right moment.
This ending, Endeavor’s character development, and the brilliant music and animation of the High End fight make “His Start” one of My Hero Academia‘s best episodes, and a perfect way to conclude Season Four.

Attack on Titan Season Three, Episode 22, The Other Side of the Wall Review. One of the Manga’s Most Impactful Moments Adapted.

5 stars

Spoiler Free Review:

Attack on Titan season three just ended and I miss it already.
It adapted the manga chapters excellently the entire way through, and the final episode, “The Other Side of the Wall”, is no exception.
Coming into this final episode, I was concerned that since only Chapter 90 would be adapted then the episode would need to add pointless scenes to lengthen the runtime.
Thankfully, all of the scenes that are added in “The Other Side of the Wall” serve a point and this all combines with the manga adapted scenes to create a somber and meaningful season finale.
“The Other Side of the Wall” adapts a scene I and many other manga readers have been waiting to see and it does not disappoint.
This moment almost brought a tear to my eye with its thematic weight, beautiful animation, and the way it continues to push Eren’s fantastic character development forward.
Eren is the standout of this episode with Yuki Kaji doing a fantastic job as per usual.
I am so excited to see Eren’s character arc continue in the final season because when I finished this arc in the manga Eren was a top 10 favourite character but the next arc makes him a top five favourite character, for me.
Along with Eren, other characters like Floch get their chance to shine.
Many people may not like him based on what he says this episode but it definitely makes you understand him as a character and what he stands for.
The episode also gives a look at how the society within the walls views the truth of situation and it is done very naturally.
The big scene of  “The Other Side of the Wall” though is still its impactful and almost tear inducing ending.
The credits sequence is also pretty surprising, blending images from season one, the future final season, and even some images that I have no idea what they mean.
Overall, “The Other Side of the Wall” is my favourite Attack on Titan finale so far.
It may not have any action like season two’s finale “Scream”, but what this ending represents for the series and characters as a whole going forward makes it one of the most impactful episodes of the series.

Spoiler Review:

As I said in the spoiler free review, I was concerned that “The Other Side of the Wall” would add scenes to lengthen the runtime, which would drag down the episode.
I feared this because another episode that adapted a single chapter, “The Basement”, did this and, as a result, I found that it lessened the episode’s impact.
Thankfully, this is not the case with “The Other Side of the Wall” because every single new scene adds to the character development.
This is most obvious in the scene right before the characters arrive at the sea, where they come across a Titan that can barely move.
Rather than kill it, Eren instead walks up to it and places a hand on its head, sympathetically calling it “a fellow patriot.”
This brilliant scene really shows how far Eren has come.
He has gone from wanting to kill all Titans at the beginning of the series to coming to understand them and even sympathize with them, understanding they are not the true threat.
In the manga, Eren just rode past the Titan while speaking that line so it was not portrayed as clearly how much Eren had changed.
After this great addition, the anime delivers the scene manga readers have been waiting forever to see, the ocean scene.
Watching this joyous moment where characters like Armin finally reach their goal of seeing the ocean is very emotional, even more so because of Eren’s undermining of it.
Rather than celebrating like the others, Eren realizes the threat they all face.
He knows now that reaching the ocean does not mean freedom for them but means they have an entirely new and more dangerous enemy to face.
This moment marks the first big separation Eren has with Mikasa and Armin.
While these two celebrate, Eren does not, and this divide will continue to expand in the final season, as shown by the separation of Eren and Armin in a small post credits scene.
Speaking of the credits though, they are full of many images from next season and even ones we have not seen yet.
There are two particular images I find to be of interest.
One is of a group of kids at some kind of school, and another is where it appears to literally be raining blood.
What the latter image means, I have no idea other than it must be terrible.
As for the image of the kids though, I have a few ideas.
The kid actually looks a lot like Gabi, a character we will meet in the next arc, but the lack of an armband, and with her friends nowhere in sight, makes me question this.
I have also heard people suggest a younger version of Willy Tyber’s sister, which would be interesting.
Whatever these shots may be of, they continue to how how excellent Attack on Titan is with its foreshadowing.
As for the other scenes of the episode, they are just as good, the other highlight being the ceremony where Eren and the rest of the nine survivors from the battle of Shiganshina are awarded medals.
Before this, Floch has a confrontation with Eren and Armin, declaring how he thinks Erwin should have been given the serum instead.
This not only gives us insight into Floch but Eren as well because we see this is the first time that Eren’s belief in the ocean representing freedom are questioned.
Just as he tells Armin he thinks they will be free if they reach the sea, he experiences a flash from his father’s memories of Fay’s dead body in the water.
This not only shows how they are far from free but is also an incredibly smart use of creative censorship.
Even though Fay’s body in the water covers up the gruesome image, it also brilliantly foreshadows that the water Eren and the others will see at the ocean means they are not free but rather in even more danger than before.
I usually criticize the censorship of Attack on Titan but this was such a smart use of it that it surprisingly manages to improve on the manga by adding new symbolic aspects.
“The Other Side of the Wall” is a fantastic season finale.
There may be no action, but the character development and symbolism of the episode is phenomenally handled.
With the final season being announced for 2020, it makes me wonder how long the manga has left?
I personally believe it will end around Chapter 130, which means 12 chapters left, and if I am right then Attack on Titan season four should start right after the manga ends, which would be cool.
Either way though, I just hope the series will get a satisfying conclusion that we all can enjoy, whether that ending is hopeful, tragic, or something in between.

Westworld, Season Two Finale: Passenger – What Just Happened!?

Warning: Major spoilers for the finale.

5 stars
The Westworld season two finale, Passenger, aired two days ago and ever since then I have been in a state of shock.
This 90 minute finale was absolutely incredible with emotional deaths and moments, mind boggling twists and more than a few intense cliffhangers.
The episode started off as a fairly standard episode of Westworld but by the half-way point it had hopped on board a train of absolute insanity and stayed on board all the way through to the post-credit scene.
Even before this half-way point though, the episode had plenty of typical fantastic Westworld moments, like the heroic death of Lee Sizemore.
I was very surprised by Sizemore’s character arc this season.
In season one he seemed like an irredeemable jerk who would only cause trouble, however, this season they actually redeemed him giving him many emotional moments like his breakdown in front of Maeve in Kiksuya.
They even gave him a great way to go out with him holding off Delos security to give Maeve and the others time to escape while he shouted the speech he had written for Hector.
It was a sad and yet oddly triumphant end for Sizemore.

To to rescue
Sizemore, Hector, Armistice and the others attempt to rescue Maeve right before Sizemore’s heroic death.

However, Sizemore was not the only character to die this episode as we got multiple characters deaths with Maeve, Charlotte, Elsie, Hector and Armistice all dying.
One tiny problem I have with this though is, once again, I am not sure if Maeve, Hector and Armistice are actually dead for good, due to them being hosts.
The finale seems to hint that Felix and Sylvester will bring Maeve back but we will have to wait and see.
Speaking of which, Maeve’s death was very tragic as, much like Sizemore, she sacrificed herself to save her daughter.
What was not tragic, however, was the death of Charlotte Hale, which led to the explosive twist that Bernard had replaced her with a host version of her with Dolores’ mind inside.
So the entire time we were seeing Charlotte in the future timeline it was actually Dolores in a host Charlotte’s body.
I knew something was off about Charlotte when she reappeared in the future timeline but I thought it was because she knew Bernard was a host.
I never expected this huge twist and it was excellently done.
More revelations soon followed with Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) hinting that he may be a host to Charlotte/Dolores and, in a post-credit scene, William going through a fidelity test run by a host version of his daughter years in the future.

Stubbs
Is Stubbs a host? Or is he just following Ford’s orders? I guess we will have to wait until season three to find out.

Honestly, with all these plot twists, it feels like the show will be completely different when season three airs, whenever that will be.
What makes the wait for season three more exciting though is the questions the finale left us with.
I genuinely do not know if certain characters will be returning.
I have no idea if Akecheta is returning, for example, and honestly I both want and do want him to come back.
I want him to come back because he is such a great character and it would be really good to see him again, but I do not want him to come back because he got a happy ending this episode and I want him to stay happy with Kohana.

 

Escaping to the valley beyond
Akecheta, Maeve’s daughter and her new mother escape to The Valley Beyond.

In considering who among the hosts who died will be returning, I think Maeve is probably coming back, along with Hector and Armistice, but other than them I have generally no idea.
The final big take away from this episode was that Dolores and Bernard are now enemies, with Dolores acknowledging they are both important to the hosts’ survival but that they cannot work together because of their differences.
Personally, I am on team Bernard because Dolores has certainly become a villain this season and, as Bernard puts it, she will kill “every man, women and child” on the planet if she could.
I have heard more of a mixed response from people when they talk about Passenger but I for one think it was an incredible finale with many shocking moments.
I am not sure if it is as good as the season one finale The Bicameral Mind but it is still a fantastic way to end season two.
I have no idea what is going to happen in season three but I cannot wait.