Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans Review. Raise Your Flag!!!

4 and a half stars
When I first reviewed Attack on Titan, I basically called it the Game of Thrones of anime on account of how many characters were dying.
After reading the rest of the series so far, though, I know this is far from the case.
And now, after finishing Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, which we started but never finished at my university anime club, I can see that the Game of Thrones title suits the Gundam series a lot more.
Iron Blooded Orphans made me wonder just how bloody the other Gundam anime could be, with constant brutal deaths from the large cast of characters, which resulted in a tragic yet fitting ending.
Directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai and developed by Sunrise, the show follows Mikazuki Augus (Kengo Kawanishi) and Orga Itsuka (Yoshimasa Hosoya), two child soldiers who form the organization known as Tekkadan, with their first mission being to escort the maiden of revolution Kudelia Aina Bernstein (Yuka Terasaki) to earth.
What follows is a long and bloody journey both before, during, and long after the mission has ended with, as I said, many brutal and shocking deaths occurring.

Try not to get too attached to the characters because they’ll probably die horribly.

Although many of these deaths are telegraphed before they happen, they still carry huge emotional weight that makes you feel for the characters.
Whether these deaths be in massive Gundam fights or Godfather style assassinations, they always hit you where it hurts.
This is helped by how great the characters are.
Orga is definitely my favourite with me caring for him, even when his naïve desire to see Tekkadan succeed as quickly as possible inevitably lead them all down a tragic path.
As for Mikazuki, I was surprised by how much I liked him as a character, considering he is pretty emotionless.
Usually, I find it hard to connect with such characters but I think it completely worked for him.

Mikazuki may not express much emotion but I still understood and cared about him.

The other members of Tekkadan like Eugene (Yuchiro Yumehara), Akihiro (Yasuaki Takumi) and Biscuit (Natsuki Hanae) are just as interesting to watch.
Not only this but the antagonists are also understandable, with the anime subverting my expectations on what McGillis’ (Takahiro Sakurai) role would be in the story and also again surprising me with Galieo’s (Masaya Matsukaze) great character arc.
Although, I will say that McGillis’ creepy marriage to Galieo’s nine-year-old sister Almiria (Ai Kakuma) should have obviously been changed.
Seriously, even though we see nothing happen (thankfully) they should have aged her up to make it not feel like grooming.
Sadly, this is not the only problems with the villains as the ones in season two have plot armour that I felt like borderlined on the ridiculous at times.   
This is especially the case with Iok (Nobunaga Shimazaki) who can burn in the fiery pits of hell for all I care.
He is easily my most hated anime character of all time with his narcissistic stupidity leading to the deaths of multiple characters.

The mocking name given to him by the fans “Idiok” is perfect for this unbearably unlikeable character.

However, I’m pretty sure we are supposed to hate Iok, so I can’t fault the anime for this because the writers did their job at making him detestable.
As for the animation and music, both are stellar, with there not being one weak moment from either.
The Gundam battles look especially fantastic and this is best showcased in the action packed final episodes, where the tragedy concludes with a bittersweet ending that left me sad yet satisfied, although I will admit it is a divisive end.
I honestly considered giving Iron Blooded Orphans five stars but its problems with some of the villains, namely McGillis’ relationship with Almiria (ew) and the plot armour for the antagonists in season two, held me back.
Still, this does not change the fact that it is a fantastic anime that is a tragic thrill ride from start to finish.
Just prepare to be emotionally crushed by the end.   

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising Review. A Plus Ultra Movie.

4 and a half stars
Going to see My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising last night was probably the most interesting experience I have ever had when seeing a movie in theaters.
There were so many people in cosplay, many of them jumping around in excitement and shouting out to one another, before the film started.
I was honestly scared that they were going to ruin the movie for me by shouting throughout the runtime but, thankfully, when it started, they quieted down, except for a few occasional cheers.
A good thing too because My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is a great time that any fan of the anime should see.
Although, anime only fans should know that there are a few light spoilers for where the series will go because the story takes place a little bit further in the manga.
Directed by Kenji Nagasaki, The movie takes place on Nabu Island, where Class 1-A are taking part in a training program by helping out the people of the island in their daily lives.
However, when the villain Nine (Yoshio Inoue), who has multiple Quirks, attacks the island in search of  a young boy, the heroes in training must band together to stop him, with no hope for backup.
For starters, my favourite thing about Heroes Rising is definitely how it uses its characters, especially Deku (Daiki Yamashita) and Bakugo (Nobuhiko Okamoto), who take center stage in their efforts to save the target of Nine, Katsuma Shimano (Yuka Terasaki), and his sister Mahoro (Mio Imada).

bakugo and deku
Deku and Bakugo are the highlights of the film, with their rivalry having come a long way since season one.

It is not just them though because almost every member of Class 1-A is given a moment to shine in this film, creating some terrific action sequences.
This results in the epic final battle of the film, which is among the most glorious animation I have ever seen.
It is also set to the moving song, Might⁺U, that was recently in the anime when Deku saved Eri.
As for the villain of the film, Nine, he is not given much of a backstory so, unfortunately, him and his minions are not that interesting from a character perspective.
Thankfully though, they make up for it through the threat level they possess.

Nine
Nine is definitely a threatening villain, even if he is not that interesting as a character.

Along with Nine’s slightly lacking character, another minor flaw I found with the film is that it does pull a few things to make sure its events are never mentioned again in the anime.
This does make sense but some of the ways the movie goes about it do feel a little abrupt.
Aside from these minor problems, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is an absolutely fantastic film with a lot of great character moments, humor, and an awesome final battle.
Apparently, the ending to this film was the original ending Kohei Horikoshi had in mind for the manga but he changed it so decided to put it in here.
And, given how great this ending is, I cannot wait to see how he actually plans to end My Hero Academia.