Chainsaw Man Episode Nine, From Kyoto Review: POP Goes the Yakuza!

After the insansity of Chainsaw Man truly began last episode, Episode Nine, “From Kyoto” continues this, with many moments I was excited to see from the manga being adapted excellently.
Directed by Takahiro Kaneko, “From Kyoto” begins by briefly recaping the previous episode through showing Himeno’s death, as she gives all of her strength to the Ghost Devil in the hopes of beating the mysterious girl, named Sawatari, and Katana Man.
As we know from “Gunfire”, this unfortunately fails as Sawatari uses the Snake Devil to eat the Ghost and Himeno vanishes entirely.
It seems like the Yakuza have won this fight until, with the last of its strength, the Ghost Devil pulls Denji’s ripcord, causing him to heal and transform into his Chainsaw form.
As he and Katana Man prepare face off, we hear “Hawatari 2 Oku-senchi” begin to play for the third time in this show.
Once again, the makers of the anime seem to really like this song and I, for one, cannot blame them.
It really is a banger and it suits the build up to Denji’s fight with Katana Man well.
We see the fight after the opening, brief as it is, and it is as exceptionally animated as the action in the previous episode.
Sawatari calls for backup and they eventually arrive but they only prove to be a hinderance as Denji takes one of the men hostage pretty easily.
The hinderance is a small one, however, because Katana Man is absolutley not concerned about killing his own men as he uses the same attack he used to defeat Aki, slicing both Denj and his own subordinate in half.
Katana Man then prepares to take Denji’s body to their van as his own hyrid form melts, before proclaiming that Devil Hunters are no match for guns.
Following this statement, we get a brief montage proving him right, as we see Arai and various other Devil Hunters who drank with Denji the night before have been killed.
Makima seems to be among them, until her assassins look back at her body, only to see she has somehow resurrected herself, in an exceptionally creepy shot.
At the train station where Makima was heading, two other Devil Hunters, Kurose (Kengo Kawanishi) and Tendo (Hitomi Ueda), are waiting for her arrival when they hear about the attacks on the Devil Hunter divisions.
They believe Makima is dead, until she steps off the arriving train covered in blood.
She lies, stating that she was not hit and the blood she is covered in is not her own.
That last detail is probably partially true because we then cut to an overhead shot looking down inside the train, where Makima’s would-be assassins have all been brutally killed with large holes seeming to have been blown through their stomachs.
Instead of heading to Tokyo, Makima instead orders Kurose and Tendo to gather 30 convicts with life sentences or worse and then take them to a highly elevated temple.
We then get an anime only scene of Makima preparing for her gruesome plan, as she redresses herself, while the convicts are brought to the temple, having what they do not know will be their final meal on the way.
The scene then cuts to back with Katana Man and Sawatari, as they and their Yaukza subordinates are loading Denji into their van, only for the subodrinates to start exploding in a bloody game of Pop Goes the Yakuza!
We then see exactly how Makima is making this happen.
Atop the temple, she has the prisoners, and Tendo and Kurose blindfolded.
This is so Tendo and Kurose cannot see what Devil she is contracted with and probably so the prisoners will not panic when they start dying.
Makima goes from prisoner to prisoner, ordering them to say the full name of each Yakuza member.
She then squishes her hands togethor, squishing the Yaukza and also killing the prisoner in the process.
This horrible ability is perfectly portrayed from the manga, displaying just how gruesome all of this is, with one shot of a gun laying in a puddle of blood being particuarly striking.
Just as unnerving is Makima’s demeanor after doing all of this, as she calmly declares that this is all she can do from here.
For whatever reason, Makima did not harm Katana Man or Sawatari, and they prepare to load Denji into their van, only to stop when they see an unexpected person approaching: Kobeni.
We then get the payoff to Himeno saying how skilled she was in the Eternity Devil Arc.
Sawatari sends the Snake Devil to kill her but Kobeni easily jumps over it and runs along the tail, jumping to slice off Katana Man’s hand, catch his gun in midair, and then shoot him with it without even looking.
She then uses Denji as a shield when Sawatari attempts to shoot her, forcing Sawatari to retreat with Katana Man.
Kobeni does all of this with her perpetually depressed expression, which is understandable given the trauma she just experienced.
In a flashback, it is revealed that when the old lady fired at Kobeni and Arai, Arai sacrificed himself for her, giving Kobeni enough time to get behind the old lady and make her shoot herself.
This unfortunately creates a lot of survivors guilt for Kobeni as, after apologising to Denji for trying to kill him earlier, she has a breakdown, laughing and crying over how she is apologising for attempted murder and  how Arai died for her.
She declares that she will tell Himeno she quits the next time she sees her, doubling the tragedy because we already know Himeno is dead.
I wonder if anime only viewers will have warmed up to Kobeni now that she has had her big moment?
Many of them hated her because of her actions in the Eternity Devil Arc.
I did too when I read the manga but my negative opinion of her turned around after she saved Denji and I wonder if this is the same for anime only viewers?
The final scene of the episode then sees Makima meeting with Madoka, the sole survivor among the newly introduced Devil Hunters who went out with Denji and the others the night before.
Madoka announces that the divisions are being merged because of the assassinations, leaving Makima in charge.
He then quits his job because he believes its leave the Devil Hunting profession or die, before all but accusing Makima of knowing this whole thing was going to happen.
Makima, however, neither confirms nor denies this, stating she cannot share such information with civilians.
As she leaves with Kurose and Tendo, the two are obviously creeped out by Makima as well now.
They timidly try to get away from her by saying they are only staying in Tokyo briefly so they can train people.
Makima states that this is a shame because, “The dining in Tokyo is to die for,” bringing an end to the episode.
Way to not seem creepy, Makima.
After the episode ends, we get our ninth ED “Deep Down” by Aimer, which is right up there with “Hawatari 2 Oku-senchi” and “First Death” in terms of quality.
Overall, “From Kyoto” is probably my favourite episode of Chainsaw Man so far.
It perfectly adapts great moments like Kobeni rescuing Denji, Makima’s revival, and then her brutal game of Pop Goes the Yakuza!


Manga Spoilers:
One addition to the anime that I liked was the use of crows when the Yakuza began exploding.
We know from the manga that Makima can control various animals, like rats and crows.
The crows flying around when the Yakuza start popping show that Makima is using them to confirm that she is hitting her targets.
Either that or the crows play some role in the popping.
As for Makima leaving Katana Man and Sawatari alive, I am still curious about her reason for doing so.
Maybe it was so she could obtain their power later, as we see her doing so in the final couple of arcs in Part One.

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.