Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Five, Declaration of War Review: The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For.

5 stars
Chapter 100, “Declaration of War.”
Pretty much every Attack on Titan fan who has read the manga can easily recall this chapter.
I can still remember sitting in stunned silence after reading it because of what had just occurred.
So, needless to say, I was extremely excited to see one of my favorite chapters adapted in the anime.
Well, having seen it, I can say that Mappa and director Teruyuki Ōmine definitely pulled it off, providing a nail biting delivery for “Declaration of War.”
The episode starts off with a flashback to Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie’s time in the scouts, as was seen in Episode Three.
This time, we have a scene of Bertholdt wondering why the man who hung himself in the settlement chose to tell them his story before he did so,  believing it was because he wanted to be judged.
At this point, the scene perfectly transitions to Reiner about to be judged by Eren, as they meet for the first time in four years.
Falco, the sweet boy, has absolutely no idea about the absolute disaster he has unintentionally caused, completely unaware as Eren subtly threatens all the people in the building above them by showing his cut hand, threatening to transform if Reiner tries anything.
From here, we see the build up to Willy’s declaration, as he is visited by the mysterious Kiyomi Azumabito from last episode, who seems to know something, given that she leaves before the festival.
Another interesting scene is between Karina and Annie’s father, where Mr Leonhart insists that his daughter is still alive, which is basically just Isayama’s way of saying, yes, Annie’s in the story, even if she’s not important right now.
The final build up scene before the performance sees Zeke, Pieck and Porco being lured away by a mysterious guard who then traps Pieck and Porco in a hole to prevent them from transforming and trying to stop whatever is about to happen.
As a manga reader, it’s been pretty fun to see fan theories about who the mysterious soldier is.
I’ve heard theories about it being Jean, Connie, and, most often, Armin who has had an extreme growth spurt.
In any case, this trapping scene is very well done, building the tension up nicely, and even providing some humor when Pieck’s panzer unit get jealous over Pieck hugging only one of them.
With the threat of enemy Titan Shifters removed, Eren can now confront Reiner in temporary peace and Willy can begin his last speech.
Down in the basement, Reiner asks Eren why he came here and Eren chillingly replies “the same reason you did” and follows this up by telling Reiner multiple times that he is “the same as you.”
This shows just how much Eren has grown over the four year time skip, going from hot headed to calm, collective, and even reflective over his situation.
He is clearly not the same arrogant character who I couldn’t stand all the way back in season one, and Yuki Kaji does a fantastic job voicing this calmer version of Eren.
Another voice actor who deserves praise for their work this episode is Kazuhiko Inoue, who does a fantastic job with delivering Willy’s lines, during his epic speech.
This voice acting, accompanying the gruesome imagery of the performance, makes for a great use of exposition that keeps the viewer engaged while being fed information.
The information Willy conveys is that the Marleyan version of history is a lie (big shock), and that The Great Titan War was actually ended by King Fritz, who conspired with the Tyber family to make a Marleyan, Helos, a hero, and then fled to Paradis Island out of guilt for what his people had done.
Willy revealing this shows how masterfully he can manipulate a crowd because first he reveals the truth, before redirecting the crowd’s anger at a new threat, Eren Jaeger.
Speaking of, Eren knows full well how much of a threat he is, admitting that he might just end up destroying the world, like Willy fears, because of the millions of Colossal Titans in the walls, which he could potentially control.
Falco is horrified that someone he trusted would use him and becomes even more terrified when he realizes the letters Eren had him send were to his “comrades.”
For now though, Eren’s attention is entirely on Reiner as he proceeds to judge him just like the opening of the episode suggested that he would.
However, this judgement is not what we might expect.
Instead of condemning Reiner, like he did in earlier seasons, Eren is shown to have become more understanding of him, as showcased by Eren telling Reiner to forget his promise to make Reiner suffer, admitting that there is good and bad people on both sides of the conflict.
This is followed by the moment that breaks Reiner completely, Eren telling him that he did what he did because he was a brainwashed kid.
Reiner refutes this entirely, falling to his knees and tearfully admitting that he pushed on with the mission to attack Paradis because he wanted to be a hero and he is to blame for Eren’s mother’s death.
Reiner’s voice actor, Yoshimasa Hosaya, did such a great job with Reiner’s tearful repentance that it almost made me cry.
Reiner’s pleas for death are then juxtaposed by Willy saying he doesn’t want to die because “he was born into this world,” and this very line that Eren’s mother spoke years ago finally draws Eren’s attention away from Reiner, as shown by the subtle widening of his eyes.
Maybe Eren is experiencing some hope that he will not have to go through with his plan?
Unfortunately, any hope Eren might have for peace is shattered because Willy follows this up by proclaiming he wants everyone to help him fight the devils of Paradis.
Accepting what he must do and that he really is the same as Reiner, Eren pulls Reiner to his feet, as we get some anime original content of soldiers approaching the basement door, ready to attack Eren.
One might think upon hearing about this scene that it is a pointless attempt at diminishing Eren’s responsibility for what comes next but, thankfully, it comes across more as a way to build tension, rather than try to justify Eren’s horrific act of violence.
And horrific it is, as Eren transforms then and there, killing who knows how many civilians and even Willy Tyber himself, crushing him with massive his fist, before throwing him in the air to be devoured, like a piece of popcorn.
This scene is just fantastic with a great use of sound and music.
That said, some manga readers took issue with the OST in this scene, 2Volt.
Some took such a disliking to this OST usage that they even harassed director Teruyuki Ōmine over it, to the point that he felt depressed.
Critique a scene all you want but if you harass the people behind that scene, you’ve gone way too far.
Personally, I feel that the music worked great and the people who dislike the scene may have had their own preconceived ideas on how the it would go, making them be inevitably disappointed when it didn’t suit their envisioned scene.
Still, even though I thought this final scene was great, there is one issue I have with the episode but it is one I am not ready to deduct points for just yet.
This issue is that there is a cut scene between Willy and Magath that is crucial to understanding both their characters’ motivations.
There is a possibility that this scene could have been moved to episode six, so if we see the scene there then this won’t be an issue, however, if it’s not there, then I think we are missing some crucial development for both these characters.
Like I said though, I am not going to be deducting any points from the episode because there is always the chance of this scene appearing in the future.
Overall, “Declaration of War” is a fantastic adaptation of one of the manga’s best chapters, delivering the point of no return for Eren brilliantly.

Attack on Titan Season Four Episode Four, From One Hand to Another Review: Calm Before the Storm.

4 and a half stars
Even though I liked Episode Three of Attack on Titan’s Final Season, “The Door of Hope”, the one issue I had with it was the cutting of some pretty great scenes from the manga, like Reiner’s struggles in the beginning, Annie’s role in destroying the wall, and Reiner deciding to infiltrate the military.
However, cut content is certainly not a problem I have with Episode Four, “From One Hand to Another”, which adapts the manga chapters it covers amazingly.
Directed by Tetsuaki Matsuda, it even adds in scenes from previous chapters that we thought weren’t going to be adapted, like Pieck’s crawling gag, a scene that was memed to death by the fandom, after its absence in Episode Two.   
This joke came after the opening, which followed the cliffhanger from the previous chapter, where Eren Jaeger himself was revealed to have infuriated Marley, disguised as a traumatized soldier and fittingly using the alias of Kruger. 
It is in this opening scene that Eren begins his manipulation of the good natured Falco, having him deliver letters to his “family.”
Following this sinister moment, the rest of “From One Hand to Another” definitely gives off a calm before the storm vibe, with the build up to Willy Tybur’s speech at the festival. 
Speaking of, we finally got to meet the Tybur’s, the family who holds the War Hammer Titan. 
The head of the family, Willy, is certainly an interesting character because, despite being an Eldian himself, he is the secret leader of Marley, who is widely respected by the world’s other leaders. 
It creates a striking juxtaposition when, at a dinner party, Willy is treated with respect, while Udo, a fellow Eldian, is treated like trash by almost all of the world’s leaders.
Willy’s introduction also sets Magath on the path towards being an interesting character, since it is revealed he is trying to get Marleyans to realize the errors of their ways, in being a warmongering nation, by forcing conscription to show them the true horrors of war, which the Eldians they force to fight for them experience.
Magath and Willy seem to have come to accord to save Marley, as Willy talks of how Marley is in need of a new hero, like the mysterious Helos. 
Another scene also highlights this need because, while speaking to Wily in code, Magath reveals that their “house” has already been infiltrated by “rats.” 
And, poetically, the scene then cuts to said infiltrator, Eren, who thanks Falco for sending his letters and now has a baseball from his “family.” 
Eren even talks about how he needs to go back to his “hometown.”
Oh, the irony. 
However, their conversation is interrupted by an approaching doctor who is revealed to be Eren’s grandfather. 
Dr Jaeger talks with Eren, unaware that he is his grandson, telling him to stop having Falco run errands for him because, if the Marleyans suspect something, Falco and his family could be punished. 
Eren retorts by bringing up the regrets Dr Jaeger must have, already knowing those regrets full well from Grisha’s memories. 
This causes Dr Jaeger to have a complete mental breakdown in a creepy moment that reveals he is not a doctor at this hospital but a patient, having broken down from the pain of losing his children, which he believes to be entirely his fault.   
As the real doctors lead a traumatized Jaeger away, Eren turns to the baseball and tosses it into the air. 
After this strange moment, we get the dinner party scene where, as I mentioned, Udo is looked down upon because of his Eldian blood. 
However, what I didn’t mention earlier is that there is at least one person who looks out for him, a mysterious, older Asian woman, who Gabi says is from the nation of Hizuru. 
Once the party scene has concluded, we then get our final calm before the storm moment, as Gabi and the other warrior candidates enjoy the wonders of the festival. 
This resulted in quite a few hilarious moments, primarily thanks to Gabi’s voice actress Ayane Sakura who, I have to say once again, was the best possible choice for Gabi. 
Her delivery is completely on point, much like Yuki Kaji’s somber Eren voice, which will make it interesting to see how Bryce Papenbrook follows him up in the English Dub.
Back to the festival scene, we get another funny moment with Reiner.
The man has been abused physically and emotionally and now the time has come for him to be abused financially, as his wallet is all used to pay for the kids’ food. 
This does make Reiner smile towards the end though so his financial pain is worth it. 
What also makes it worth it is Pieck and Porco being present in this scene, as they were not there to enjoy the food in the manga. 
Their scenes with the kids help make the two more relatable, especially Porco who, in the manga, is just a massive jerk. 
Seeing him encourage the kids in Episode Two, and now enjoy the festival in Episode Four, really makes me like him more than in the manga, by this point. 
It’s not all happiness though because Gabi just had to jinx it by hopefully stating that it felt like things were going to change, before the credits rolled.
Well, yes, Gabi, things are going to change, just not for the better as you had hoped. 
No, the end credits scene crushes these hopes because Falco is manipulated into bringing Reiner down into a basement for another confrontation with Eren, four years after their last meeting. 
With that, the episode left us off on a two week break until the epic episode that will be “Declaration of War.”
Still, I’m sure that the wait will be worth it and I am glad the animators got a small break because I’ve heard making the final season has been absolute hell for them.  
Fingers crossed that they can perfectly adapt “Declaration of War”, one of the best chapters of the manga and, potentially, one of the best episodes of the anime, if done right. 
Episode Five cannot come sooner. 

Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Three, The Door of Hope Review: A Doorway to Misery.

4 stars
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.
Nope!
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.

Tokyo Ghoul √A Review: The Decline Begins.

3 stars
The first season of Studio Pierrot’s Tokyo Ghoul adaptation was a solid season, but one that had a few issues.
Despite this, the final episode of the season was incredible and a great ending for the next season, √A, once again directed by Shuhei Morita, to pick up from.
Yet, coming into √A, I had a lot of concerns because this is the point that many fans say that the Tokyo Ghoul anime began to decline in quality.
And right from the first episode, “New Surge”, I knew this was going to be the case.
To put it bluntly, “New Surge” is easily the worst Tokyo Ghoul episode of the first two seasons because of how badly it both adapts the manga and tries to add new scenes.
For example, the emotional goodbye Kaneki (Natsuki Hanae) has with Touka (Sora Amamiya) in the manga is replaced in this first episode with Kaneki just being a silent edge lord, which he unfortunately remains for most of the season.

edge lord kaneki
Kaneki barely says anything to Touka when he leaves Anteiku, compared to the manga where he talks a lot, showing Pierrot couldn’t be bothered to write a different conversation.

Then there is Kaneki joining Aogiri Tree this episode, which is also atrociously done.
The anime decided to change the story in √A from Kaneki forming a resistance group to stop Aogiri to him joining them.
Sui Ishida, the creator of the series, envisioned that Kaneki would do this to secretly find and kill the One Eyed King but Studio Pierrot threw this, and his other ideas, out in favor of Kaneki joining Aogiri Tree to get stronger, which makes no sense at all.
This confusing plot line is on full display in the first episode with the scene that I think is supposed to show Eto (Maaya Sakamoto) convincing Kaneki to join Aogiri, which instead just has her giggling at him and then disappearing, without either of them saying anything.
Why would Aogiri Tree decide to let Kaneki join them anyway, when he is responsible for the death of one of their executives?
Not only this, but many important scenes like Kaneki breaking half the bones in Ayato’s (Yuki Kaiji) body are completely removed in this episode.
Unfortunately, the dip in quality of √A continues, with Pierrot trying to work in characters from the manga that just do not translate well to this new story.
The biggest example of this is Kurona (Aoi Yuuki) and Nashiro (Haruka Tomatsu).
In the manga, these two show up because both Kaneki and the CCG are actively chasing them down, forcing them to fight.
In the anime, however, they deliberately pursue Kaneki for absolutely no reason, making it feel like they were written in just because they were in the manga and not because they had a story based reason for being there.

twins ghouls
Kurona and Nashiro should not have been in √A. Without Kaneki pursuing them it made no sense for them to be in the season.

These problems with the anime original content continue throughout √A, with even censorship being a problem.
Tokyo Ghoul is a dark manga so it should have been a dark manga.
Characters that lost their limbs just break bones here.
Studio Pierrot should have listened to Ishida’s ideas for the season or just followed his original story.
Sadly, the anime only events are not the only issues with √A because the animation and soundtrack are issues too.
While the animation isn’t awful, various fights in the first half of √A feel slow and more static than the first season.
As for the soundtracks, songs are repeated constantly to the point that I actually tired of hearing even the great ones.
I lost count of how many times “Glassy Skies” played.
Not only this, but the opening, “Munou”, is flat out terrible, with barely any effort put into it.
However, despite the many problems I have mentioned, I still do not consider √A to be a bad season.
It almost is but there are a few redeeming qualities the season has that cause it to miss the title of bad by the skin of its teeth.
For starters, even though I didn’t like many of the changes that were made to the original story, there are actually some good ones.
For example, there is an interaction between Kaneki and Naki (Hiro Shimono) in the first few episodes that I really enjoyed, and I liked some of the little quirks Eto was given, along with her interaction with Juuzou (Rie Kugiyama) and Shinohara (Yutaka Nakano), which explained some of her later actions.

eto bang
Despite all interactions between Kaneki and Eto being a complete waste of time, instead of interesting changes as they should have been, I still liked the little changes and quirks her character was given in the anime.

Along with this, when the anime actually adapted parts of the original story correctly, it did them quite well.
The raid on Anteiku was excellent, for the most part, with the fights being very enjoyable, especially Yoshimura’s (Takayuki Sugo).
Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the change of having Yoshimura hallucinate Ukina during this scene.
The animation of these fights was also a lot better than they were earlier in the season.
Not fantastic, but good.
The voice acting also remains solid and, even though I had problems with how repeated the soundtrack was, I liked the final, slower version of Unravel that was played at the end.
I may have not liked the four minute walk that accompanied it but it’s still a fantastic version of a fantastic song.
So, despite its plenty of faults, Tokyo Ghoul √A is saved by its redeeming qualities, barely making it a good season.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for Tokyo Ghoul: Re, which I am currently struggling to get through.
You can expect a review for that train wreck soon.

 

Psycho-Pass 3 Review: Incredibly Underhyped.

4 stars
I love the first season of Psycho-Pass.
It is a riveting anime with an amazing story, characters, and themes that just gets better every time I watched it.
The second season is, well, none of that.
The only thing I can give it credit for is that it succeeds in being the most disappointing follow up to a great season I have ever seen.
So, when the third season of Psycho-Pass was announced, and with new characters taking the leader, I was naturally concerned.
Sure, the original director was returning, but that did not guarantee quality.
And this was all I heard about the season for a while, until I saw one of the reviewers I had subscribed to on YouTube reviewing the first episode.
It was a definite, “wait, this came out moment?”, for me.
It felt like there was almost no hype behind this season, which is a shame because it is a vast improvement on the second one.
Yes, it is not as good as the first season but it was never going to be.
You just can’t top the level of quality in that season, especially with the great chemistry between the two main characters Akane Tsunemori (Kana Hanazawa) and Shinya Kogami (Tomokazu Senki), and the antagonist Shogo Makishima.
However, the characters of Psycho-Pass 3 are still excellent and, given more time, they could become just as beloved as the original cast of inspectors and enforcers.
I will start with the two lead inspector characters, the quirky Arata Shindo (Yuki Kaji) and immigrant Kei Mikhail Ignatov (Yuichi Nakamura).
The season follows these two as, under the Sibyl System, they investigate the mysterious organization known as Bifrost.
The two’s friendship, and how it progresses throughout the season, is perfectly handled and I am anticipating to see where it goes.

arata and kei.jpg
Arata and Kei’s bond only gets better as the season progresses.

As for the new enforcer characters, they are just as great, especially Tenma Todoroki (Akio Otsuka) and Kazumichi Irie (Junichi Suwabe).
I really came to respect these two characters, just as they came to respect Arata and Kei over time.
Then there are the old characters who are present, yet working in the shadows rather being active participants in the plot.
They are all integrated pretty well, which leads to my biggest surprise of the season, which is that I found Mika Shimotsuki (Ayane Sakura) tolerable.
I absolutely hated her in the second season because she was an absolute jerk for no reason.
Here, we can see why she is acting the way she is, which allows us, as the viewer, to sympathize with her.
She’s not just trying to backstab Akane because she doesn’t agree with her for no reason anymore.

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The most surprising thing about Psycho Pass 3 is how tolerable Mika is.

Although, I will say that this change in Mika does make it feel like we missed some character development from her, which is unfortunate.
Another unfortunate thing is that the villains did not really stick out for me this season.
I knew they could never be as fantastic as Makishima but I was still disappointed in how they failed to stand out compared to the main characters.
But, hey, at least they were not awful like Kirito Kamui from season two.
Along with having great characters, for the most part, the third season of Psycho-Pass also has a great story with a fantastic usage of themes and political commentary.
One feature I was very impressed by was how the season reflects and comments on how many celebrities are getting into politics nowadays and how this would work within the Sybil System.

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Psycho Pass provides great commentary through one of its main players being a pop idol who is trying to become Governor.

However, not everything was so amazing because there are some things that bring the season down slightly.
The biggest of these issues is easily Arata’s mental trace ability, which allows him to view crimes from a criminal and victim’s perspective in a supernatural way.
Now, I have never been a fan of the supernatural in Psycho-Pass, as evidenced by my extreme dislike for Kamui.
So, when Arata was revealed to have this ability, I hoped that they would give it some kind of scientific explanation.
But, no, they just have to implement some kind of supernatural ability when it does not fit in with the themes and commentary at all because why not?
Thankfully, Arata’s Mentalist ability was not enough to derail the season for me.
Psycho Pass 3 is an almost return to form, despite a few hiccups, and I am interested to see where the story goes from here, as well as how these new characters continue to grow and the world of Psycho Pass along with them.

My Hero Academia Season Two Review: Spectacular Fight Sequences Inbound.

5 stars
The first season of My Hero Academia was a good start to the anime and I saw a lot of potential in it.
Thankfully, this potential is fully realised in season two, which absolutely blew me away with its character development, animation, music, and downright phenomenal action sequences.
The season covers around three story arcs and each of them has a great mixture of all of these features I mentioned.
The first arc follows the U.A Sports Festival, where the training heroes compete in a tournament to be scouted by pro heroes.
During this arc, we get amazing character development from many of these characters, most notably Shoto Todoroki, voiced by Attack on Titan’s Yuki Kaji.
Other than knowing that he is extremely powerful, Todoroki left little impact on me in the first season but this all changes here.
He is now probably my favourite character of the series.
Along with this, his fight with Deku is one of the greatest fights I have seen, not just in anime but in everything that has been put to screen.

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Deku’s fight with the scarred Zuko-I mean Todoroki, has to be one of the best fight sequences I have ever seen. 

Everything just combines in that battle to make it such an incredible moment from the character arcs, to the animation, music and shot composition.
This fight is not the only fantastic one, however, because there are two other phenomenal fights, with Deku and Bakugo having to face off against All Might for an exam and Deku, Todoroki and Iida facing off against the Hero Killer, Stain (Go Inoue).
Speaking of Stain, he is a fascinating villain with a complex ideology and moral code that makes him the series’ best antagonist so far.
I have my fingers crossed that we will see more of him in the future.

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Stain is a very engaging villain, with his impact on the series looking to be very important compared to the other antagonists.

The season also goes into more detail about All Might’s backstory, and his rivalry with what looks to be the main villain of the series All For One.
We get to meet All Might’s teacher, Gran Torino (Kenichi Ogata) who I think may be named after the Clint Eastwood movie.
His introduction probably made me laugh harder than any joke in the anime so far.
As for the final episode, rather than the bombastic action one of the previous season, we get more of a meeting of the minds between our hero and villain that seems to set up their potential rivalry for future seasons.

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Tomura Shigaraki’s (Koki Uchiyama) meeting with Deku is especially tense, with Deku being literally one finger on his neck away from death.

Overall, the second season of My Hero Academia is downright fantastic, providing constant laughs, amazing character development and, of course incredible fight sequences.
If you can sit through the Deku vs Todoroki fight without your jaw dropping like me then I will applaud you.

 

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.