Tag Archives: anime

My Thoughts On: Attack on Titan (season 2)

*note: fairly major spoilers follow for season 2 of Attack on Titan

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Considering how good the first season of Attack on Titan was, it blew my mind when I discovered that the second season was even better. While season 2 is only half the length with 12 episodes, it certainly doesn’t lack for drama.

Season two picks up where season one left off and focuses almost exclusively on a mysterious Titan incursion inside Wall Rose (the second of three walls keeping humanity safe). In the process of putting down this incursion, some mind-boggling truths are uncovered about the nature of Titans. Even more shockingly, multiple humans are revealed to be hiding Titan forms. The biggest shock of all is that the attack on Shiganshina, which set the entire plot of the series into motion, was orchestrated by two Scouts who have been friends with Eren for several years! This revelation comes out of nowhere and completely cemented my love for this series (like many, I enjoy an excellent plot twist).

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Additionally, the massive Beast Titan is introduced to the story and quite honestly he looks terrifying. Unlike the other Titans we’ve seen up until this point, the Beast Titan (befitting his name), has the appearance of an ape. What’s more, he can talk like a regular person and can command regular Titans (with terrifying effect). Speaking of Titans, there’s a bit of focus on Eren learning to control his own Titan abilities, including several false starts when his attempts to summon his Titan form don’t work. But above all else in season 2, I have to praise the final battle against the Armored Titan, the Colossal Titan and a third Titan whose introduction was so well done I don’t want to spoil it (but it completely shocked me). This fight sequence builds on all the Titan battles we’ve seen up until now and raises the intensity by 100. The action, combined with the music, makes the entire sequence riveting. You can feel the raw emotion as Mikasa engages the Titans, swearing to kill them for what they’ve done. You can also feel the pain as some characters are forced to make extremely difficult decisions. There’s also an epic Titan moment that calls back to the very first episode of the series.

As I said at the beginning, season two of Attack on Titan is even better than the first. I highly recommend this series for anyone who enjoys anime. The first half of season 3 is currently streaming on Hulu (sub only), with the second half expected to arrive later this month. Let me know what you think of season two of Attack on Titan in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts On: Attack on Titan (season 1)

Film/TV Reviews

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My Thoughts On: Attack on Titan (season 1)

*note: some spoilers for Attack on Titan follow

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I first tried to watch Attack on Titan several years ago and I admit I was initially not into the series at all. The unnatural appearance of the Titans freaked me out so much that after the third or fourth episode (I don’t remember which), I put the series away and proceeded to ignore it. The concept of humanity being hemmed in on all sides by bloodthirsty giants really scared me, it’s almost like a zombie apocalypse only the zombies are giants. Fast forward to this year and I decided to give the series another shot and I am so glad I did. Attack on Titan is an amazing series that is admittedly full of violence but also contains a lot of intrigue and plot twists that keep you guessing as to what is really going on.

The initial premise of Attack on Titan is that over 100 years ago, humanity was overwhelmed by the sudden emergence of the Titans, a strange race of giants that love to eat humans. The surviving humans sequestered themselves behind a series of walls and maintained an uneasy status quo until a Colossal Titan breaks through the first wall at the beginning of the series, setting the story into motion. The story follows Eren Yeager as he sets out on his journey in life after the first Titan attack destroys life as he knows it. Apart from Eren, my favorite character is Mikasa Ackerman, I really love watching her fly around the battlefield, a graceful but deadly figure. Another important character (and one I somewhat identify with) is Armin, who initially seems like the last person who should be fighting Titans, but he cares for his friends so much that he does what he can do protect them.

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One of the strengths of the first season is its stunning animation. The fight sequences between the soldiers and the Titans are just beautiful. Even though characters are literally flying across the screen, there’s no issue in following the action. The Titans, particularly the Colossal Titan, the Armored Titan, and the Female Titan are animated in spectacular detail. Unlike the regular Titans, these special Titans are better proportioned and look more realistic (relatively speaking). One of the biggest twists in this season involves the nature of these special Titans. The revelation that some humans can transform into Titans, in my opinion, completely sets the story on its head. It was initially established that Titans were a completely separate race, but if some humans can become Titans…how do you know who the “enemy” is? It’s a complex question and it leads you to go back over the entire season and re-evaluate everything you think you know.

Another detail I ended up liking about this season is that nobody is safe. You can spend several episodes getting to know a character only to find out they were killed during a battle with a Titan or worse, eaten. Some series suffer because a certain set of characters are protected by “plot armor” meaning they’ll never be in real danger because the story can’t go on without them, but that is definitely not the case with this story. One detail that still bothers me is the graphic nature of some of these deaths. You see and hear a lot of grisly stuff, blood, screams of pain, it can be a little overwhelming at times.

By the end of season 1, I was completely hooked on the series. I’m glad I gave Attack on Titan another chance and I highly recommend it. Attack on Titan is currently available on Hulu and Netflix. Let me know what you think about the series in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts On: Attack on Titan (season 2)

Film/TV Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Slayers Great (1997)

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*warning: spoilers below!

Slayers Great is the third Slayers movie and was released in 1997. Of all the Slayers films I watched this past weekend, this might just be my favorite. In this story, Lina and Naga find themselves in a town where golems (artificial creatures of clay animated by magic) are common place and the skill to make them is highly prized. As fate would have it, Lina and Naga end up on opposites sides of a conflict between two nobles who want to take control of this particular town. Each wants to secretly build an army of golems to help them rule the world, but they need to gain power first. That’s where our sorceresses come in. Each is coerced into helping a golem maker (who happen to be father and son) with a special golem that will be used in a contest to see which noble has the more powerful creation. But things quickly get complicated.

The awesome eternally bickering dynamic between Lina and Naga is back in full swing and I love watching every minute of it. As I think I’ve mentioned before, Lina and Naga will fight for the smallest of reasons (particularly if Naga points out Lina’s flat chest) and it’s fun to watch Lina when she gets angry.

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The boiling feud between the two sorceresses culminates in a hilarious golem battle where Lina and Naga find themselves each trapped in a golem based on…well, them! But here’s where it gets funny: Naga’s golem is an almost perfect (albeit giant sized) depiction of herself (skimpy outfit and all). While Lina’s golem is….well, picture a cute Chibi-Lina and you’ve just about got it. Lina’s reaction to being trapped inside a super-cute version of herself is super fun to watch (she’s FURIOUS!). Things get dialed up to eleven when the sorceresses discover they can cast magic through their golems as well and destructive mayhem ensues. Also, I should mention that seeing a giant golem version of Naga is somewhat terrifying, especially when she starts up with that laugh.

In conclusion, Slayers Great is really, really funny. Fans of the series will definitely enjoy this movie. Let me know what you think about Slayers Great in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Slayers Return (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers (season 1) (1995)

My Thoughts on: Slayers NEXT (Season 2) (1996)

Animated Film Reviews

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Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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My Thoughts on: Slayers Return (1996)

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*warning: spoilers follow

Aside from running for five seasons, Slayers also spawned five animated films, the second of which is Slayers Return. Unlike the anime series, none of the movies (except for the last one) feature Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis, or most of the characters Lina meets during the show. Instead, Lina teams up with another sorceress named Naga the Serpent (who DOES have a connection to the show but I won’t spoil how). Naga is…interesting. Like Martina in Slayers NEXT, Naga dresses in incredibly revealing outfits (she’s very confident in herself) and has a laugh that is memorable for being nightmare-inducing for Lina and other characters because it can literally come out of nowhere. That being said, I LOVE Naga and her constant bickering with Lina is a joy to watch.

Now, on to the movie. In Slayers Return, after getting into yet ANOTHER fight over food (because how dare Naga take the last piece of Lina’s steak??) the two sorceresses find themselves hired to save the village of Biaz from an evil organization. Lina only agrees because she remembers that this village is supposedly the sight of a legendary treasure (and Lina will do just about anything if treasure is involved) and Naga tags along because she suspects that Lina is after said treasure (and if so she wants her fair share). One thing I love about watching Lina and Naga is that they will argue over anything (but particularly about food and treasure), and when these two argue, inevitably things get blown up (which always makes me laugh for some reason).

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From this point on, most of the movie’s humor comes from subverted expectations. For example, we are led to believe that this Zein Organization that has enslaved Biaz is this huge group ensconced in some hidden fortress. But the truth is…there’s only two members in the group, their leader is a third-rate magician (and I suspect also a con artist) and they operate out of a run-down shack in the woods. What makes it even funnier is that Galev (Zein’s would be leader) maintains this “pompous evil lord” attitude even after he’s mostly exposed as a fraud. It’s almost disappointing that the supposed villain of this story is a dud, but the humor pretty much makes up for it. And it turns out the story does have a proper villain (sort of) after all.

Remember the “treasure” that Lina was hoping to collect? Well…it turns out it wasn’t so much a treasure as it was a giant golem capable of destroying everything in its path that’s incapable of being controlled. And oh yes, Naga just happens to be wearing a bracelet that acts as a homing beacon for the golem (and it can’t be taken off). The remainder of the film is devoted to an extended chase as everyone flees from the golem while trying to figure out how to stop it. The dialogue between Lina and Naga is hysterically funny, as is the comeuppance that Galev receives at the end of the film. I should mention that this is one ugly golem: it looks like a giant chicken crossed with a turtle, with extended claws coming out of its back (and it says “Yo!” all the time).

If you enjoy the Slayers anime, you will love Slayers Return. It is a little jarring at first to not have Lisa Ortiz voicing Lina, but Cynthia Martinez does a great job. The animation is on point, though I should also point out the spells are a little different than what you see in the regular anime (in particular, Lina’s incantation for Dragon Slave is noticeably different). It’s really a fun movie to watch and I hope you get the chance to check it out.

Let me know what you think about Slayers Return in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Slayers (season 1) (1995)

My Thoughts on: Slayers NEXT (Season 2) (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Great (1997)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Slayers NEXT (Season 2) (1996)

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While Slayers has a great start in season 1, it gets even better in season 2 with Slayers NEXT. All of our heroes return for more adventures and we’re introduced to even more interesting characters as Lina, Gourry and company go on more exciting (and dangerous) adventures! These new characters include:

Princess Martina of Zoana: Oh Martina, Martina…let me tell you something about Martina…she’s absolutely 100% crazy!! How so? Well, just as an example, Martina is a fervent devotee of the monster Zoamelgustar. There’s just one little problem with that…Martina made him up out of her own imagination, not that this impedes her devotion in the slightest. In fact, in one hilarious episode, Martina successfully invokes Zoamelgustar’s power to curse Lina through sheer willpower (not bad for a non-existent monster). She hates Lina with a passion for destroying her kingdom (even though it was Martina who started the trouble) and also has a habit in falling in love with every handsome man who crosses her path. Despite trying really hard to be a villain, Martina is more of a nuisance than anything else.

Xellos: This is one of the most frustrating characters you’ll meet in the series, because for most of the time he appears you’re never really sure what he’s up to or whose side he’s really on! He claims to be a traveling monk but hints are dropped repeatedly that this is far from the truth. Xellos also has an annoying habit of leading people in conversation up to a critical point and when they demand to know something important he’ll just smile and say “That…is a secret.” I’ll admit, the true identity of Xellos shocked me (though I won’t spoil it here).

Hellmaster Fibrizo: I’m pretty sure it goes without saying that if you have “Hellmaster” in your name than you are not a good person. Hellmaster Fibrizo might be one of the most sadistic characters I’ve ever seen. This is one of those characters who kills on a whim, all to get what he wants. Truthfully, you will not see this character coming, it’s one of the best villain introductions I’ve ever seen.

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A lot of the plot revolves around our heroes searching for the Claire Bible (a text containing powerful magical secrets) in the hopes that it contains some spell that can cure Zelgadis and make him human again. During this search, Lina and her friends stumble on a plot brewing among the monsters. It seems that the destruction of Ruby Eye Shabranigdu in season 1 had some far-reaching consequences and it’s up to Lina to deal with the fallout…if she can survive that is. Like season 1, Slayers NEXT gets pretty bloody in the last part of the season (not enough to be considered “gory” but there are still some fairly shocking moments).

If you enjoy season 1 of Slayers then you will absolutely love Slayers NEXT. I hope you get the chance to check it out someday. Unfortunately it’s not streaming on Hulu currently but you can get seasons of Slayers for a reasonable price on Amazon. Let me know what you think of Slayers NEXT in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Slayers (season 1) (1995)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Return (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Great (1997)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Slayers (season 1) (1995)

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*Note: It should go without saying that there are plot spoilers to be found below

Last summer some of my friends introduced me to a wonderful anime called Slayers which I’d never heard of before (my access to anime was severely limited growing up so for a long time the only shows I knew anything about were Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z). I quickly fell in love with the series and it’s been one of my favorites ever since.

In season one of Slayers we are introduced to a quirky cast of characters:

  • Lina Inverse (Lisa Ortiz): A very young and extremely powerful sorceress. Lina loves to travel the world and gather treasure. She also loves food.
  • Gourry Gabriev (Eric Stuart): Lina’s self-proclaimed guardian. Gourry is almost a pure iteration of the “dumb blonde” trope but he does have his moments (which I won’t tell you because that would spoil some wicked awesome moments).
  • Zelgadis (Crispin Freeman for most of the series): an equally powerful sorcerer who is continually seeking a way to restore his body to human form (for plot reasons he currently exists as a chimera with a body of stone).
  • Amelia (Veronica Taylor): This young princess and a would-be mage is the living embodiment of a crit fail in D&D (case in point: Amelia loves to make dramatic entrances but typically fails to stick the landing).
  • Sylphiel (Stacia Crawford): a priestess who refers to Gourry as “Gourry Dear” a lot.

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The plot of season 1 finds our heroes fighting against Rezo the Red Priest. It eventually comes out that Rezo is trying to summon Ruby Eye Shabranigdu (a powerful demon) in the belief that doing so will finally cure his blindness. However, when this plan backfires, our heroes must fight Shabranigdu and save the world! Actually, they end up saving the world several times over by the end of season 1, with some plot twists that I genuinely didn’t see coming.

One of my favorite things about Slayers are the ornate incantations used to create spells. For example, here is how Lina casts Dragon Slave, one of her most powerful spells:

Darkness beyond twilight
Crimson beyond blood that flows
Buried in the stream of time is where your power grows
I pledge myself to conquer all the foes who stand
before the mighty gift bestowed in my unworthy hand
Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed
by the power you and I possess…
DRAGON SLAVE!

To make a long story short, Slayers is a really fun anime and you should definitely check out the first season if you get the chance (the subtitled version is currently streaming on Hulu but I highly recommend the dubbed version as well).

Let me know what you think about season 1 of Slayers in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Slayers NEXT (Season 2) (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Return (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Great (1997)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Assassination Classroom (2015-2016)

I have loved anime ever since I saw my first episodes of Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z in the 90s and I’m always on the hunt for (relatively speaking) new series to watch, which is easy to do as Hulu contains a wealth of anime. That’s how, last year, I stumbled across the magnificence that is Assassination Classroom.

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Based on the manga by Yūsei Matsui, Assassination Classroom follows the “end class” (full of academic and social misfits) of Kunugigaoka Junior High School who are given the task of killing their new teacher, a strange yellow octopus (with a smiley face for a head) before he explodes and wipes out the Earth the following March. To this end, the students are trained in various assassination techniques by Mr. Karasuma and Irina Jelavić (dubbed “Professor Bitch” by the class), all with the aim of taking their teacher, Koro Sensei, out.

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One of the best parts of the series is watching how the assassination plans evolve over time. This culminates (in my opinion), in an arc where the class attempts to assassinate Koro Sensei on a remote island during summer vacation. The plan is so intricate that it nearly succeeds…but it still falls short. In fact, none of the students plans work out, but that doesn’t hurt the series at all because every attempt brings with it a new lesson about life. While strange looking, Koro Sensei is a grade-A teacher who genuinely wants his students to succeed in life (as well as killing him). In fact, as I watched the series through the first time, it slowly dawned on me that many of Koro Sensei’s tips about assassination were actually skills and ideas you could apply in real life.

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There are some parts of the series that are really upsetting to me and I want to highlight a few of them. First of all, if bullying bothers you then several episodes will be difficult to watch. The rest of the school is trained to hate the End class on principle, with most events rigged to ensure that this class stays at the bottom. It’s really uncomfortable to watch but thankfully the series moves away from that aspect over time. Another episode that upsets me is one that introduces Mr. Takaoka, a (brief) replacement for Mr. Karasuma. Just the way this character is drawn is enough to set you on edge (I think they made his smile look fake on purpose) but what he does is even worse. It comes out that Takaoka employs sadistic training methods and rewards the smallest complaint with punches and slaps. However he does receive an epic comeuppance from Nagisa Shiota (a student who narrates most of the episodes), which partially makes up for what happened before.

Koro Sensei is by far the best part of the series; he has dozens of different quirks, facial expressions and quips that will leave you giggling more often than not. I love how his face changes to reflect his mood. He’s a character that grows on you very quickly.

I enjoy Assassination Classroom very much; I love the twists and turns the story takes and by the end of the series I was very much attached to the fates of each character. If you’d like to check out Assassination Classroom, the complete series is currently available on Hulu. If you’ve already watched the series, let me know what you think about it in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film/TV Reviews

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Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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