Spy x Family, Episode Seven, The Target’s Second Son Review: Apology Failed Successfully.

Directed by Kazuki Horiguchi, Episode Seven of Spy x Family, “The Target’s Second Son,” begins with a recap of the previous episode, which saw Anya shoot her relationship status with Damian, the son of Twilight’s target, down to negative one hundred.
Twilight, however, is determined to see the friendship plan work so insists on Anya apologizing to Damian.
Upon reaching the school, Anya reunites with Becky, their friendship having been formed in the previous episode, and she proves an unintentional foil to Twilight’s plans, wanting Anya to avoid Damian, despite her repeated attempts to apologize for world peace.
This frustrates Twilight, who has humorously decided to watch over Anya for the day, determined to make sure that her apology to Damian follows through come hell or high water.
Twilight uses various methods to motivate Anya, such as reflecting a message to her with a mirror, editing Anya’s textbook, decorating Anya’s omelette with the word “sorry” using sauce, and many more.
Eventually, when Becky becomes too much trouble, he removes her from the situation, falsely calling her on the intercom to give Anya the chance to aplogize to Damian, which she takes, eventually bursting into tears as she does so.
The sight is enough to make Damian blush, which he passes off as him being red with anger, only for his own perspective to contradict this as we see normal shots of Anya looking at him present her in an idealized light.
Unwilling to admit his crush, Damian instead cries out that he will never forgive Anya, running off to Twilight’s horror.
So, apology failed succesfully, I guess?
Damian may not have accepted Anya’s apology but he now has a crush on her, potentially opening the door for Anya to get close and eventually get Twilight close to his target.
Although, if she were to read Damian’s mind and learn of his crush, I don’t see Anya taking it well.
She’d probably freak out with another meme worthy face and ruin the relationship further.
For now, however, this is a step in the right direction for the mission, not that any of the characters know it, and the scene ends with another good gag, as we see Becky wondering just who the heck called her anyway.
Upon arriving home, Twilight has Anya study, supposedly now relying on his backup plan of attempting to make Anya an imperial scholar.
Anya does not get the questions, though, so resorts to reading her parents’ minds.
Unfortunately, this does not go well, with Twilight being too focused on the mission to be thinking of the answers and, even funnier, Yor solving math by using the allegory of dismembering a body, disturbing Anya.
Anya runs to her room afterwards, leaving Yor to console Twilight about Anya’s troubles with studying, reflecting on how she raised her brother, Yuri, who actually taught her a few things himself.
Consoled by Yor’s words, Twilight goes to talk with Anya in her room and sees that she fell asleep trying to study.
Anya even mummers in her sleep, asking her mama not to kill her papa.
So, yeah, let’s hope that’s not foreshadowing for anything.
This leads into the credits but it is not the end of the episode because Yor’s earlier mention of her brother was not just to help Twilight’s development and get him closer to Yor, but also to lead to Yuri’s introduction, as he arrives, only to learn from Domonic that Yor is married.
This cliffhanger will lead to quite a few comedic moments, as Yuri investigates his sister’s relationship with Twilight in the next episode.
Overall, “The Target’s Second Son” is another good episode of Spy x Family, with plenty of funny moments and scenes that will lead to even funnier ones.

Spy x Family, Episode Six, The Friendship Scheme Review: The Meme Face is Here.

Episode Six of Spy x Family, “The Friendship Scheme”, is an episode I was quite excited to see because it would be adapting the moment that convinced me to read the series in the first place.
This being Anya’s “heh” face, when she deals with Damian Desmond’s bullying.
I decided to read the manga after seeing this face as the centerpiece of various memes and, when I actually reached the point where Anya makes this face, I concluded that it was and still is one of the funniest moments of the story.
This moment does not come until the second half of the Yōsuke Yamamoto directed episode, however, with the first half focusing on Twilight’s meeting with his handler and Yor taking Anya to get her school uniform for Eden College.
The latter story begins with the entire Forger family going to get Anya’s uniform fitted, during which the woman doing Anya’s measurements talks of bullying and kidnappings taking place at Eden Collage, unintentionally scaring Anya.
After a couple of other humorous moments displaying Anya’s fear of being kidnapped, Twilight is called to meet with his handler, Sylvia Sherwood, leaving Yor to take Anya to get the uniform.
Sherwood is none too happy about the expenses of the fantastic filler mission of the previous episode and put off, yet impressed, by the balls of Twilight handing her more expenses, this time for Anya’s uniform.
Sherwood then informs Twilight of phase 2 of Operation Strix, the aim of which is to get Twilight close to Donavon Desmond.
The plan is for Twilight to teach Anya how to recieve eight Stella Stars to become an imperial scholar, allowing her and Twilight to infiltrate Desmond’s inner circle.
On the other hand, if Anya does poorly and recieves eight Tonitrus Bolts, she will be expelled from Eden College, ruining the mission.
Faced with this potential problem and the prospect of turning Anya into her an imperal scholar, Twilight presents a cool persona, yet, on the inside, is thinking, “Hello, anxiety, my old friend.”
Well, if that isn’t the most relatable thing said in this story so far then I don’t know what is.
Meanwhile, Anya recieves her uniform and tries it on, looking as adorable as always, to which Yor gushes over repeatedly, annoying the shop owner.
The two then go on another family “ooting”, where Anya continues to do adorable things, like show off her uniform to everyone.
This wholesome moment does not last long, however, because the shop owner is proven right when some criminals recognize Anya’s uniform being for Eden College and decide to kidnap her for ransom.
Unfortunately for them, they just happened to attempt to kidnap the kid with an assassin for a mother, as Yor quickly scares them off in a moment that had me cheering for her just like in the manga.
This then leads to Yor training Anya for fights, adding to Twilight’s stress, and leading to the hilarious events of the episode’s second half, which sees the Forgers at an Eden College assembly, where Anya is sorted into her class.
Twilight has arranged for Anya to be put in the son of Donavon Desmond Damian’s class, in the hopes that the two will become friends so Anya, and by extentsion Twilight, will be invited to Desmond’s house where Twilight can investigate him.
Yet, right from the beginning, things do not go so smoothly, as Anya is put off by Damian’s arrogant attitude.
She is also put off by fellow student Becky Blackbell for much the same reason, worrying Twilight who notices that Becky and many of Anya’s other classmates are the children of important people, causing him to wish for Anya to make friends with them so he can gather intel.
Placed under Henderson as their teacher, the class then go on a tour of the College.
While visiting the dining room, Anya is bullied by Damian and his goons, causing her to remember Yor telling her to put on a brave face in front of bullies.
So, she does just that, resulting in the meme “heh” face which got me into this story in the first place, impressing Becky and insulting Damian.
This causes Damian to insult Anya throughout the tour, threatening to bully her every day and insulting Twilight, causing a literal fire to appear in Anya’s eye.
Cue her looking to make sure Henderson isn’t looking, before throwing an impressive punch, decking Damian to the floor and proving that Yor probably taught her a little too well.
Anya plays innocent when Henderson confronts her, pulling yet another comedic gold face, yet when her excuse doesn’t work, she acts as though she was protecting Becky, earning her friendship and lessening the Tonitrust Bolts she recieves from Henderson to one.
This causes shame for Anya, embarrsassment for Yor, and horror for Twilight at his mission already being so far behind, with Anya’s relationship with Damian already being at negative one hundred.
The episode then ends on another hilarious moment, as we see the embarrassed and horrified faces of the Forger family in their class photo.
All in all, “The Friendship Scheme” is another great episode of Spy x Family, adapting one of the funniest moments from the manga well.

Vampire in the Garden Review: Unfortunately Short.

I still remember searching for upcoming anime a few months ago and being interested by the description for Vampire in the Garden.
Developed by Wit Studio, released on Netflix and directed by Ryōtarō Makihara, the story is set in a winter wasteland where vampires and humans have been at war for an unknown period of time.
Some of the remaining remnants of humanity have fled to a city, protected by a tower that generates UV Light to ward off the vampires.
Living inside this city is a young girl named Momo (Megumi Han), the daughter of one of the city’s generals. 
She is tired of the fighting and wants to learn music, something which was outlawed because of its connection to the vampires.

Then, during an attack on the city, Momo has a chance encounter with the Vampire Queen Fine (Yu Kobayashi), someone who is also tired of the fighting and treasures music.
Together, the two decide to try and find a supposed paradise where humans and vampires live in harmony and make music together.

Momo and Fine’s chance encounter begins their journey.

This premise intrigued me when I first read it and I decided to give the anime a shot, thinking that it would probably have a similar episode count to Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, another anime that Wit Studio produced which I loved.
So, I was quite surprised when I saw that there were only five episodes released by Netflix.
At first, I thought it must be some kind of error and that Netflix would release the other episodes once they realized the mistake.
But, no, Vampire in the Garden really is only five episodes long and this is its biggest fault.
Now, I still really enjoyed my time with this anime but I feel like it had the potential for so much more, if only it had been given more episodes. 

I wish Wit Studio had given Vampire in the Garden the ten to thirteen episode treatment.

There are just too many characters and ideas here for the vision of this anime to be fully realized in such a short amount of time.
That said, I do think that Vampire in the Garden did the best it could have done with only five episodes, which is a testament to the writing quality.
For one thing, I liked all of the characters in this anime.
Momo and Fine’s growing bond is interesting throughout, I quite enjoyed the resolution to Momo’s relationship with her mother (Rika Fukami), and the vague way that the anime filled in the backstory of Kubo (Hiroki Toshi), giving us just enough information to put the pieces together, felt like the writers were respecting the audience.
Another feature of the anime I have to give props to is the world building.
Momo and Fine visit various different kinds of communities, all of which have different ways that humans and vampires interact with each other, which are interesting to compare.

The exploration of the different dynamics between humans and vampires in various dystopian cities was excellent world building.

The animation and music are also quite good, something to be expected of an anime made by Wit Studio.
I will also admit that, despite me being critical of there only being five episodes, this short run time does mean you can finish Vampire in the Garden rather quickly, as if it were a movie rather than a show, so that is an advantage it has.
As for other criticisms, there are a few moments in the anime that broke my suspension of disbelief temporarily by being too convenient or having a character survive something that should have been impossible to.

It’s strange moments like this one that temporarily broke my immersion.

Also, I did find the story to be a bit predictable at times, especially with one character’s ending, although it being predictable did not make it bad. 
These are just minor criticisms.
The only major one I have is, again, the episode count.
The anime had the potential to be fantastic but the short runtime limits it.
I’m actually hoping we get a manga adaptation at some point because that could extend the story, thus expanding upon the characters, world and themes, allowing Vampire in the Garden to reach its potential.
As it stands, though, I would still recommend the show.
It’s a short watch and delivers some pretty interesting character work and world building.    

Spy x Family, Episode Five, Will They Pass or Will They Fail? Review: The Perfect Filler.

Filler episodes: The kind of episode that many people will not be excited to watch.
These are ones that could usually be removed from the story entirely, changing nothing in doing so, often making them less than stellar experiences.
However, occasionally, there will be one filler episode that gets it right and delivers a satisfying and engaging experience, despite not being relevant to the plot.
Well, I think that the fifth episode of Spy x Family, “Will They Pass or Will They Fail?” is the perfect filler episode.
What makes it truly great, though, is not just how satisying it is but how it also excellently makes changes to the manga.
The castle party was relatively brief and small scale in the manga, yet the anime crafts a wholesome adventure for the Forger family to have after they learn Anya has been accepted into Eden College.
Directed by Kenji Takahasi, the episode opens with the build up to Anya’s acceptance, as we see the Forgers heading to see the results, only for Yor’s braclet to break, after which they see a black cat, and then Anya notices she has stepped in poop.
These bad signs seem to foreshadow the family’s downfall, as the cliffhanger before the OP shows the Forgers realizing they have not passed the admission, only for Henderson to explain the circumstances to them afterwards.
It turns out that Anya is just on the waiting list, so she is on the verge of being accepted.
Twilight is confused that they passed after he smashed a table in front of Swan, however Henderson humorously reveals he was scored highly for that because he smashed a mosquito as well, since mosquitos are the most dangerous creature on the planet to humans.
So now, all Anya needs is one of the students to withdraw and she will be accepted into the College.
Cue Yor briefly wondering if she should murder one of the student’s parents to get Anya into the College, before immediately dismissing this as she couldn’t possibly kill an innocent person.
This gag does result in another characteristically comedic expression from Anya, though.
After this, the Forgers don’t have to wait long before they learn Anya was accepted, resulting in a crazy celebration, spearheaded by good old Franky.
All of this craziness starts with him and Yor getting so drunk to the point that Yor doesn’t hear Franky admit to stealing the answers to the exam for Loid to teach Anya, eventually building to Franky telling Anya that Twilight said he would give her anything for getting accepted.
What Anya wants, it turns out, is to recreate her favourite spy show, Bondman, by having Twilight rescue her from a castle.
Twilight is reluctant until Franky guilt trips him into doing it, resulting in the excellent filler portion of the show, with the familt renting the castle and flying in, before Twilight calls many of his spy associates to help with this “mission,” many of whom are excited to learn from him.
Anya and Franky then enact their plan to stage a Bondman experience for Anya, with Anya being the princess kidnapped by the evil Franky, who Twilight needs to save as Loidman, while Yor is “whatever” according to Anya.
The game begins with Loidman tracking Anya and Franky down to a quiz section where he has to answer three questions about Anya.
If he loses, he has to put on the Loidman mask.
Loid fails in the end, quite comedically as he is outraged that he lost because he didn’t realize Anya wanted a drink of water.
So now Twilight has to wear the Loidman costume, much to his embarrassment.
But at least it results in Anya adorably declaring how excited she is to see her father portray her favourite television spy.
With moments like this, it’s pretty apparent we will be losing count of how many adorable and memeable moments of Anya there are in this anime.
Next comes a well animated action sequence of Loidman fighting through his fellow spies to reach Anya and Franky, with a pretty great OST playing alongside this animation.
However, the game is not over when Loidman reaches the Princess Anya because the most powerful witch in the world, Yorticia (drunk Yor), is here to kick Loidman’s butt!
Seeing their little fight was great, as it made me excited for what we might get if Twilight and Yor were ever to come to blows in the future of the story.
The fight also ends with a laugh, as Yor’s heel breaks, causing her to pass out drunk, leaving Twilight to deal with Franky.
How will he ever overcome such an evil foe?
Well, with a simple slap obviously, cause Franky isn’t a fighter.
In the end, Loidman rescues the Princess Anya, resulting in Anya promising him that she will work hard at school, bringing an end to this filler part of the story.
And what amazing filler it was.
Seriously, if you have not read the manga, then I recommend reading Chapter Six to see just how much they added in this episode.
Pretty much everything from the moment the game started up until Twilight reached Anya, Yor and Franky was anime original.
Even the final scene is different from the manga, with the humor of Twilight’s boss realizing how much money was spent on this “mission” being delivered a lot better, in my opinion.
Overall, I would say that “Will They Pass or Will They Fail?” is probably my favourite episode of Spy x Family so far because of how much fun it was with all of the new content.
Wit Studio and Cloverworks are clearly putting everything they have into this adaptation and it makes me even more excited for future episodes, especially the next one where we will get the ultimate Anya meme face.
So, get ready for the “heh” next episode.

Spy x Family, Episode Four, The Prestigious School’s Interview Review: An Elegant Episode.

After the previous episode of Spy x Family dabbled in some anime original moments, the series is back to solely adapting the manga in its fourth episode, “The Prestigious School’s Interview.”
Directed by Kento Matsui, this episode begins with a characteristically humorous moment of the Forger family preparing for the interview at Eden College, with Twilight acting like a military general prepping his soldiers.
Although funny, this also turns out to be necessary because the College instructors are monitering all of the child applicants and their parents as they enter the grounds, failing any potential student for so little as lacking refinement.
The architect of this passing requirement seems to be one of the House Masters named Henry Henderson, a man obsessed with elegance.
Thankfully for Twilight, he apprears to have taught Yor and Anya well in elegance, as they all pay respect to the college’s founder, although Yor has no idea who the man is and Anya just thinks of him as a bald man.
Although impressed by this display, Henderson is suspicious of Anya’s low test score and her appalling handwriting, wondering if the Forgers could be an impromptu family, deciding to test them futher.
This first test comes in the form of a student faking being stuck in a gutter, to which Twilight responds by pulling him out, getting his clothing dirty.
Henderson is unimpressed, until Twilight reveals he brought spare clothing in preperation for such an event.
However, further testing is interrupted by an actual accident, when the farm animals escape, causing Yor to leap forward and pacify the leader of the stampeding herd, stunning Twilight, Anya, and especially Henderson, who seems to be having an elegance hemorrhage.
He runs out to thank the Forgers for their efforts, seeming to have grown a little as well, since he now gives them the time to go and change their clothes, only to be a little frightened when Twilight reveals they brought a third pair of clothing with them in preperation.
Then comes the actual interview with the House Masters, Henderson, the kind Malcolm Hall, and the vile Murdoch Swan, a man who berates the child applicants and their parents because of his own family troubles.
Despite Swan’s efforts to undermine the family, the Forgers do well, quite hilariously at times, like the moment when Twilight thinks Anya has screwed up only for Henderson to be blown away by what he views as her dedication.
The interview even turns wholesome when Anya scores her new parents a perfect 100 points, declaring she wants to be with them forever.
Of course, Swan has to ruin this moment by trying to force Anya to compare Yor to her previous mother, causing Anya to cry and Twilight to almost blow the interview by leaping at Swan in a rage, covering this up by smashing a mosquito… along with the table.
Twilight then leaves with his family, stating the perfect insult to Swan, “If making light of a child’s feelings is part of you establishment’s educational policies, then I’m afraid we have chosen the wrong school.”
This also strikes a cord with Henderson, who elegantly decks Swan for his actions.
It is nice to see how Henderson grew throughout his introduction, initially seeming to be as cruel as Swan, only for the Forgers to make him realize what being an educator is about.
Back at the Forger household, things are looking grim, as Twilight believes they have little hope of passing the interview and Anya is distraught at the thought of losing her new family.
However, the family quickly put these bad thoughts aside to focus on the positives, like Henderson and Hall looking out for them, with Twilight also growing as a person, since trusting in someone else is not something he would do in his regular line of work as a spy.
Yet, their family photo does fall at the end, so that’s a bad sign.
Overall, “The Prestigous School’s Interview” is another great episode of Spy x Family, delivering many wholesome moments between the family, plenty of funny gags, and good development for its characters, old and new.
It is truly an elegant episode.

Spy x Family, Episode Three, Prepare for the Interview Review: A Family Ooting.

I was quite interested to see how the third episode of Spy x Family would turn out, since the preview showed there would be some anime original scenes.
Directed by Takashi Kataragi, Episode Three, “Prepare for the Interview” begins with such a scene, as Yor is welcomed to her new home by Twilight and Anya.
This is then followed up by another wholesome anime original section, as Anya shows Yor around the place, including adorable moments, like when Anya pretends to be her toy greeting Yor, and great gags, like when Yor stops Anya from touching her stash of poison.
The funniest anime original gag of the scene, though, is the two moments when Anya claims to have helped, looking for approval, only for Twilight to reveal how Anya failed to help both times, causing Anya to give some of her classic mortified faces.
Afterwards, we get back to the adaptation of the manga, with Twilight running a practice interview for Yor and Anya, which goes about as poorly as expected, especially for Yor, who equates passing the interview with the passing of her victims, much to Anya’s comedic horror.
Hoping to give the two an experience of what it is like to be a cultured family, Twilight then takes them out on what Anya calls “an ooting.”
The adorable telepath then attempts to get closer to her new mama, offering to hold Yor’s hand, only for her to read Yor’s mind and hear how she accidentally broke her brother’s ribs once because she hugged him too hard.
Cue yet another humorous horrified expression from Anya as she runs to hide, before Twilight takes them all to various cultured places.
There’s the opera, where Anya falls asleep and Yor looks rather distressed, and an art museum, where Anya yells out that she can see a woman’s boobies in a painting and Yor is excited by a painting of an execution, much to Twilight’s dismay.
The Forgers’ next two stops are the tailor and a photography shop where they get an awkward family photo, before eventually stopping at a restaurant, where Anya eats with her hands and Yor is fascinated by a knife, once again scaring Twilight into thinking he may have picked the wrong family.
Wanting to cheer Twilight up, Yor takes him and Anya to a spot overlooking the city with a great view.
This has a much more melancholic effect on Twilight, however, as he looks at a group of children playing with a sad expression on his face, a moment that may not mean much to anime only watchers but, for the readers of the most recent manga chapter, takes on a much more unfortunate meaning.
Twilight does not have time to dwell on this, however, because down below a thief steals an elderly woman’s purse and the newfound family work togethor to catch him, because what family ooting is complete without bringing a criminal to justice, am I right?
While Yor initially gives chase and then helps the elderly woman, Anya manages to find the thief by reading his mind and pointing him out to Twilight without the spy realizing it.
Twilight then takes down the thief and retrieves the elderly woman’s purse, who thanks him and Yor by agressively shaking their hands, a display which makes Twilight happy, as it is probably the first moment he has ever been thanked for his efforts, since spying is naturally a mostly thankless task.
Twilight then goes on to thank Yor for changing the pace of the day, causing the two to blush and Anya to speculate that the two are flirting, earning a shocked display from both would-be parents, who deny this wholeheartedly.
Upon arriving home, Twilight again tests Anya, which goes well at first, until Anya recalls Twilight beating up the thief he caught.
However, Twilight takes some comfort in the fact that the elderly woman they helped clearly saw him, Yor and Anya as a happy family, which is key to his mission, bringing an end to the episode with the start of the ED.
This ED is “Comedy” by Gen Hoshino, and it is just as good as the OP, presenting a pleasant feel-good vibe.
“Prepare for the Interview” is another enjoyable Spy x Family episode, with some great anime only additions, which do not feel out of place at all.
This episode also does a good job of building into the next one, with the actual interview and the introduction of a certain elegant character.

Vinland Saga Anime Review: A Brutal, Viking Epic.

So, I’d been wanting to watch Vinland Saga for a long time but had a hard time finding it online.
Then, when I got Amazon Prime to watch the adaptation for Wheel of Time, I was delighted to see that the anime was there, so I could finally watch it.
And it did not disappoint.
Adapted from the manga by Makoto Yukimura, directed by Shūhei Yabuta, and developed by the great Wit Studio, Vinland Saga tells the tale of Thorfinn (Yūto Uemura), a young man from Iceland, looking to avenge the murder of his father, the former Jomsvikings warrior, Thors (Kenichiro Matsuda).

The first season of Vinland Saga follows Thorfinn’s journey to avenge his father.

However, this is not your typical revenge story because, while most stories of this nature would have the main character tracking down the antagonist to get their revenge, Thorfinn does not do this.
No, instead Vinland Saga goes in a completley different direction from any revenge story I have seen, with Thorfinn actually accompanying the man who killed his father, Askeladd (Naoya Uchida), in the hopes of dueling him to the death one day.
This makes none of our central characters good people, as they’re all the type to do the raiding and murdering commonly associated with the Vikings of history.
Speaking of that history, it’s interesting to note how many of these characters are interpretations of real people, with creative liberties taken.
The best example of this is Askeladd, who is based off a folk tale character, and is also by far the best character in the show.    

Askeladd is fascinating from the beginning of the season to the end.

He is whitty and charming, despite being an absolutley terrible person, and how his backstory is woven in and expanded upon is excellent, especially with how it ties into his actions at the beginning of the story.
Even the conclusion of his character for this season is amazing, making his overall character seem like both an antagonist and an anti-hero, while being neither at the same time.
Make no mistake, though, Askeladd still regularly commits atrocities, despite him being the best character in the show.
Thankfully, his horrific actions and those of the other characters are never glorified.

This leads to some pretty bleak episodes, like Episode 14, “The Light of Dawn.”

Episode 14 is a real gut punch, reminding us just how cruel our main characters can be.

I am going to remember many scenes from Vinland Saga, both the uplifting and the bleak, with many of the stories’ characters developing from these scenes, not just Thorfinn and Askeladd.
Most notably we have Canute (Kensho Ono) and Thorkell (Akio Ōtsuka), both historical figures who have great importance to the story, especially Canute, who goes on to serve as a fantastic parallel to Thorfinn in the manga.

Caunute is my favourite character of the season, next to Askeladd.

Speaking of the manga, the section that the anime adapts is actually a prologue to the true story of Vinland Saga, with the final episode literally being titled “End of the Prologue.”
The manga then goes in a direction that I honestly was not expecting, yet still quite enjoyed.
I do perfer the story telling of the first season, though, primarily because of Askeladd’s excellent development as a character.
The entire story of Season One is also aided with some fantastic animation and music from Wit Studio and composer Yutaka Yamada, tying everything together into an excellent adaptation of the manga.
Vinland Saga is an amazing anime, and I will soon be reviewing the manga and then Season Two, whenever that releases. 

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Review: What it Means to Sing With Your Heart.

The past year has sadly not been kind to the great WIT Studio.
Apparently they have lost 501 million yen, or 4.5 million dollars, in the fiscal year.
This is extremely unfortunate when you consider not only what they have put out before, like Attack on Titan for example, but also what they put out after such a loss.
One of these anime was Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s song, probably one of the year’s best anime.
Created by Tappei Nagatsuki and Eiji Umehara, the story is set in a world where AI technology has progressed to the point that many of them appear human.
One of the most advanced AI is Diva, called Vivy (Atsumi Tanezaki) by one of her young fans, and her reason for existing, or her “mission” as the AIs call it, is to make people happy with her singing.
However, this may not be so simple because she suddenly finds herself being recruited by an AI named Matsumoto (Jun Fukuyama), who was sent from the future to stop an AI takeover where all of humanity was slaughtered.

Preventing rogue AI from killing all of humanity is hardly an original concept, but Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song tells it extraordinarily well.

Reluctantly joining Matsumoto, Vivy goes on a series of missions to prevent the AI uprising and learn what it means to sing with your heart, all in the span of 13 amazing and emotional episodes.
What makes these episodes so great is how they not only build upon Vivy’s character, and her growing partnership with Matsumoto, but also develop the many different side characters in their own side narratives, whether they be human or AI.
The emotion produced from these scenes is helped by the excellent animation and soundtrack.
This standard of animation also extends to the action sequences, which are nothing short of spectacular, with their constant fluid movement.

If you pause at any point in an action scene of Vivy, you will most likely find plenty of detail, showing how much effort was put into animating all of this.

As for the soundtrack, there are many amazing songs that I have found myself constantly listening to ever since I finished the show.
From the OP “Sing My Pleasure,” to its counterpart track by Grace, to the titular “Fluorite Eye’s Song,” which got me tearing up when I finally heard it.  
All of this combines to create a spectacular anime that I would highly recommend.
I cannot think of a single weak episode among the lot.
They all either bring an emotional moment or an interesting twist to the story, with fantastic development for Vivy, Matsumoto and the side characters, alongside an excellent soundtrack and vibrant animation.

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song is a complete package anime. I’d call it a masterpiece.

I hope that Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song can help get WIT Studio’s profits up, along with whatever anime they go on to produce in the future.
Check out this emotional rollercoaster ride of an anime if you have not already.   

 

Attack on Titan The Final Season Trailer Reaction: Excited yet Concerned.

And so it begins.
After months of rumors and speculation, we finally have a new poster and trailer for Attack on Titan‘s final season.
Speaking of the poster first, I will say that it is absolutely incredible.
It parallels season one’s poster perfectly and is definitely one I can see hanging up on my wall.
As for the new trailer, it finally reveals that Wit Studio is passing on the anime adaptation to Mappa Studio to finish.
And, of course, with the studio change comes a different animation style.
Admittedly, I was initially unsure how I felt about it but, after watching the trailer multiple times, I kind of dig it.
It’s clear they were trying to emulate the manga’s style and they definitely succeeded, for the most part.
Another cool thing about the animation is how much of it is not static.
I was afraid there would be quite a few still images based off how much movement is in certain shots but this issue was virtually nonexistent, at least from what the trailer shows us.
Along with this, I was shocked about what the animation showed as well, and this is one of my few criticisms of the trailer because it did spoil some very recent events in the manga.
Still, I’m sure that without the context many anime only viewers will have no idea what they are looking, so I’m sure it’ll be fine.
What is more concerning is the limited role of prior seasons’ Director, Tetsurō Araki, and composer, Hiroyuki Sawano.
While both do apparently have a part in making it, new director Yūichirō Hayashi and new composer, Kohta Yamamoto, look to be taking the reigns for the final season.
Granted, I don’t know too much about either of these people, and they could do a fantastic job but Araki and Sawano did such an amazing job with their directing and music in the first three seasons that I am concerned about their lessened roles.
I can say though that the music, animation and direction for the trailer is stellar so, hopefully, this is a sign that Mappa will be able to do the manga justice.
It has also been confirmed that what was shown in this trailer was animated solely for the trailer, which I am honestly both relieved and slightly nervous about.
On the one hand, there are images from all way up to Chapter 122 and there is no way they could have animated that already if there were more than 20 episodes.
Seeing this scared me into believing we might just end up with another Tokyo Ghoul: Re situation but knowing it was animated for the trailer makes me feel a lot better.
Another thing this gives them time to fix is some character designs that look a little off, like Porco and Levi’s, and an added fourteenth finger pointing at Ymir, which ruins the symbolism this scene had in the manga.
However, on the other hand, a lot of this animation was fantastic and a part of me is concerned we might not get the same excellent quality when the season finally airs.
Although, this fear has no evidence behind it, it is just my paranoia getting the better of me, so, hopefully, it will turn out fine.
This trailer also gives us a first look at many of the new characters like Falco, Gabi, Pieck, Colt, Udo, Zofia, and Willy, who all look amazing in the new animation style.
We also got to hear the voice actors for Falco, Gabi and Willy, who all sound great.
The opening shot of the trailer with Falco looking up at the bird and telling it that it needs to fly away sent chills down my spine.
Another fantastic moment was the final shot of the trailer, which looks to be Eren and Reiner fighting in Shiganshina during Chapter 117.
However, their outfits are from the Marley Arc here so this is likely another shot made just for the trailer.
Yet, it is such an amazing shot that I hope they actually create something like it for the adaptation of that chapter.
One shot I was not a fan of though was the shadowed version of Reiner’s suicide attempt.
Sadly, it looks like they will be censoring this scene, lessening its impact.
But, for every iffy moment in the trailer, there is a great moment that makes up for it, like the teases to Chapter 100, which I just cannot wait to see animated because, if adapted right, it will be one of the series’ best episodes.
I also cannot wait to see the entirety of Volume 30 adapted because, in my opinion, Chapters 119-122 are the best writing Hajime Isayama has ever given us.
I wonder if the season will be split up into two cores, like Season Three, or if they will do it all in one go and pull a Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood by having the anime end at the same time as the manga.
Either way, I believe the final season needs to be 25 episodes or more if it is going to adequately adapt the remaining story.
Let’s hope Studio Mappa can live up to Wit Studio and Hajime Isayama’s legacy.