Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Some updates

Fable 2: Hero of Bowerstone has been updated with chapter thirteen here

and for any Borderlands 2 fans out there, especially Tiny Tina fans - I gots you a short drabble on our most favorite lethal thirteen year old Here

Tokyo Girls Destruction Manga Review

I’m pleasantly surprised by a manga that has a premise that could be terribly, terribly wrong in so many ways.

In the not too distant future the Japanese female culture has taken a wrong turn somewhere down the line; instead of being the delicate, demure, submissive flowers Japanese culture desires its women to be, they are rowdy, crude and almost like human beings. We can’t have that!

The worst offenders are shipped off to the Amazon Academy; an isolated island created for the sole purpose of ‘gently’ guiding young girls back onto the proper path to womanhood.

That’s the part that almost made me puke with rage BUT I kept reading, oh you sly story tellers you, you are SO good with twists.

Enter the narrative Amesu Kumi – just an ordinary high school girl who has come to the island to investigate the mysterious circumstances regarding her sister’s death.

Almost immediately it’s very apparent that the school is not what it seems. It’s actually more like a prison; by day the girls are taught various subjects and are well behaved. By the time the last bell rings however, the staff pulls out, the security cameras turn off and we see the true nature of humanity, male OR female; they are like wild animals, clawing for survival.

Whoever wears the tiny gold ‘star’ on their blazers has privileges and are treated better. Whoever does NOT are grunts who are routinely beaten and do menial tasks. You can guess that this is Only the Strong Survive kind of story.

There are a lot of things I really, really like about this story (short story, only 14 chapters so far). This is an all female cast from beginning to end, without any of the normal shoujo elements. This is Kill or Be Killed, it’s a brutal world and I’m very curious to see if Amesu will survive.

She is a ‘weak’ character done correctly. She is not physically strong like her benefactor, Burai, who is like a female tiger who can rip apart solid steel doors. But she is very determined and she perseveres where most would crumble. Where brute strength cannot get her what she needs, she uses compassion, kindness and stubbornness to survive.

Another thing I really, really like is that this is interchangeable; if you put in all male characters the result would be the same – either way it’s a good Lord of the Flies survival story that just happens to be all female. They are treated like characters, not inflatable dolls pandered for a male audience. We have brutal, amazing inhuman battles between female bruisers fighting for their own reasons. We have intrigue, survival, friendship and mysteries. There is still so much that we don’t know about this world, we have barely begun the story.

The art style is clean, the character designs are attractive and the characters are diverse and interesting.

Some people may hate Amesu because she’s weak but I think she is a very realistic portrayal of an average person and how they would act in such a setting. We all can’t be superheroes, you know?

The only complaint that I would have for this series is there is a slight problem with unnecessary crotch shots with the characters which makes me wonder who the audience is? Burai – the female bruiser who can kick ten kinds of ass, has small breasts but is drawn wearing a ridiculously short skirt and open shirt.

Is this a shounen? I do appreciate different body types and diversity among the female characters; the overblown GIANT tits and barely-there clothing is getting pretty old with anime and manga. So much so that it’s actually very rare to see anything OTHER than giant torpedo tits that defy gravity, unless of course the small breasted character is being played off as ‘unwomanly’ for not having giant tits.

Well, not much more to say since there isn’t much material to work with. I look forward to future chapters and some spectacular fights. This would be a good manga to pick up as an anime.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Attack on Titan Episode 6 Recap

Right off the bat, let’s start with some disclaimers. THIS IS NOT FOR CHILDREN, NOR THE SQUIMISH. I know, I know – you’re a paragon of steely resolve, your sinews are made from Wolverines cigar gristle and are Ford tough. Congratulations. HOWEVER, this is an anime that is brutal right out of the gate. That’s what makes it so interesting; this is a world where humanity is on its last leg and the audience is left on the edge of their seats hoping that SOMEBODY is going to survive.

Obviously major spoilers, we will be looking at the series in depth, poking at nooks and crannies and looking at characters and plot and why AoT has gained such insane popularity. There will be cursing, there will be blood. Some of the screen caps may be graphic (I will actually try to not and be too graphic with them, I don’t know who is looking at my blog).

Attack on Titan is a unique and phenomenal story which includes many elements; fantasy, mystery, politics, military campaigns, camaraderie, sacrifice and hope. If you can get past the brutal nature of the narrative its worth watching. All right, let’s get into it:

Attack on Titan Ep. 6 The World Seen by a Young Girl/Attack on Trost pt.2

Sooo Previously everybody kind of…died. Eren’s squad was decimated, Armin very nearly ended up a bite-sized morsel, AND Eren has been ate.

Not looking so good for our Heroes.

Armin is still in absolute shock as another squad and Connie comes across him, desperately trying to assess the situation, denying that the squad could so easily be wiped out and let us introduce a Side Main Character(s).

Ymir, who had a brief introduction a couple of episodes back, and Krista, who is always seen together with Ymir.

Yea, Ymir’s a bitch, no two ways – Armin clearly has just survived something soul-shattering and she’s all HA HA, YOU’S FRIENDS IS DEEEAAADDD!! Not exactly the soul of discretion, is she?

We’ll come back to them way later.

Armin kind of snaps out of it and stumbles off, horrified by his weakness (when, really, Armin? Going up against something like a nigh invulnerable machine of destruction and your beating yourself up? Such is psychology, and Survivor’s Guilt.)

Armin realizes it may have been futile from the very beginning, perhaps humanity is just meant to be wiped out.

MEANWHILE….

Asshole citizens are assholes. Some douchecanoe is blocking the only exit with his wagon-full of goods because, MONEY. So OF COURSE some goofy arm flailing Titan comes screaming around the corner to eat everybody, but –

MIKASA TO THE RESCUE

She downs that bastard like a lion on a baby gazelle and the citizens are saved! Sort of.

Asshole citizen screams and rants about MONEY and who gives a shit if her comrades are dying to protect them and, ho diggity – homeboy better back down because Mikasa is about to smack a bitch.

He runs away, the exit is opened, and the crowd rejoices. Yaaaay.

This seems like a good time for a flash back, don’t you think?

Mikasa’s commanding officer is kind of spooked how eerily good she is at killing things. Mikasa stares at the little girl and mother she just saved and we see a tiny child Mikasa – years prior to our storyline.

Mikasa’s Tale of Woe and Tragedy.

Holy crap, she was a happy normal girl once. Loving family, sweet little farm, BUT dark things on the horizon!

On this particular day the Ackerman’s are awaiting a visit from the Doctor and his son, Eren – ah! There he is at the door now!

Daddy Yeager is telling Eren he better get along with other children because there aren’t many of them and his shitty attitude is the reason why Armin is his only friend, and I gotta admit – Eren’s attitude, even at this age (9? 10?) is pretty crappy.

‘I’ll be nice is she’s nice to me’ he mutters.

Except he opens the Ackerman house door to a scene of horror and destruction; everybody inside the house is dead, and Mikasa is nowhere to be seen.

Doctor Yeager is freaked – obviously something very bad happened and its imperative that they find Mikasa as soon as possible. He tells Eren to wait at the bottom of the hill while he finds the Military Police. Too bad he doesn't notice Eren's doing the whole Crazy Eyes thing.

Mikasa has been taken to an abandoned house where she lays in shock on the hard wood floor, face bloodied and battered.

She is of Asian decent – an absolute rarity in this world. As the Titans descended to eat everyone, only a few Eastern nations managed to get behind the walls (so Apocalyptic background!? An advanced society set back by Titans?!) so that makes Mikasa a hot ticket item on the flesh market.

These pieces of shit are going to whore her out (a 10 year old girl) to some rich pervert in the city. Well, unless Eren finds them first.

Oops, too late.

Seriously, this is like a Hitchcock movie in the making.

Eren (somehow) finds them and pulls the ‘I’m lost in the woods, I’m scared, help me!’ routine as he holds a knife (where did he get that!?) behind his back.

The slavers recognize an opportunity for fresh meat and are all, ‘OH POOR THING, LET US HELP YOU-*gurglegluglugded*

Because Eren cuts the bastards throat out. That’s one slaver down. The other hops up with his axe but Eren is faster and grabs a spear - wait, hold on, is that a broom? aaand pulls a total Psycho on the slaver and stabs him to death.

Holy shit.

We’re going to take a moment out to talk about this because it’s very….interesting how Eren’s character is handled.

Eren is not a good person. He is a child murderer which brings up a very important burning question of what on earth made him into this …child who can kill two fully grown men without a single shred of consciousness?

But he’s not a bad person as well. He is crying as he frees Mikasa, he has saved her from a very, very bad fate and has destroyed two evil men.

This sits uncomfortably on the audiences mind (well, it did mine). There is no black and white, moral and just way of looking at this. Eren murdered two people; he has gleefully hacked at someone’s body until the life bled away from them. This is NOT the action of a normal person NONETHELESS a little boy. Generally when a child murders someone, there is something deeply wrong with them.

Eren has saved another child’s life, not just saved her but prevented her from being peddled to a pedophiliac monster who would have abused her, whored her, and generally corrupted and destroyed her before she killed herself or died as a result of abuse and horrific circumstance.

I don’t know what to think about this, and that perhaps is the point of child-murderer Eren's character.

However, to continue; Mikasa says there were THREE men, not two. The third has witnessed the destruction of his comrades and falls on Eren with the intent of snapping his neck. That’s when Eren says something very interesting.

He says, FIGHT.

Not; ‘run away’ or ‘save yourself’. He tells her she must fight.

‘If you don’t fight, you will die. If you fight, if you win, you will live.’

And deep down inside of Mikasa there awakens a terrifying strength – her grip alone shatters the handle of the knife she has picked up and…

Daddy Yeager has arrived with the Military Police, but far too late. Everything is done and over with and is scolding Eren like he stole someone’s pie, not just murdered two men in cold blood.

Eren says, again very interestingly, that he exterminated vermin ‘that just happened to resemble human beings.’

How did Eren become like this? So full of zealous righteousness that allows him to murder human beings. Where does he draw the line? Was this a part added to a character to show the absolute harshness of this world? Because I gotta tell ya, if you mass murdered people as a ten year old child in reality, evil or not, you would not only be getting a pretty hard side-eye, you would probably end up in a psych ward.

Mikasa is still alive, albeit traumatized, cold and wondering where she will go from here. Daddy Yeager says, of course you will live with us and Eren takes his scarf and wraps it around her, asking her if its warm.

Thus, Eren and Mikasa’s fate has forever been sealed and Eren has unwittingly become Mikasa’s well-spring; he is her light in an extraordinary dark world. So back in the present, as her duty at the front lines is finished, she rushes back to find out the fate of Eren.

This is going to get ugly (more ugly, if that’s possible).

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review: The Life of the World to Come, Kage Baker

Big Fat Disclaimer: Spoilers for the entire series, rambling, and one measly persons OPINIONS on a book series. Anyone who has accomplished the feat of becoming a published author deserves mad props, no matter what. One persons opinion isn’t the end of the world; you don’t like what I say – that’s fine. Mine isn’t the word of God, just a lowly reader of fiction who has a lifetime obsession with books.)

This is another book I picked up randomly like a stray cat at the library; it seems my system of going by the book cover isn’t working as well as I had hoped. Let’s do a short summary; er. Actually this is going to be a bit difficult because one of the problems with the book was that it was so goddamned vague that I have a hard time remembering names and events.

Right. Er, Alex? Alec? Alec, is…God, what IS Alec? Alec is the current reincarnation of our Hero with a capital H, born into our far distant future. 2300 thereabouts. Except he isn’t born but is taken as a science experiment?? He’s a human but not, but he’s a cyborg and he’s lived two different times in the distant past and he retains the memories so he’s got schizophrenia but it’s NOT schizophrenia, but..wtf. Yeah. Anyway, the future is a sanitized version of the Here and Now. There’s this super powerful company called…the Company, who has more money than God and is apparently pulling strings with their time machines and…I’m not entirely sure what it is that they do. They’re Evil with a capital E. I guess.

So right. Basically this book is about some random ‘cyborg’ woman who loves Alec and is thousands of years old but mostly about Alec as he bums around on his millionaire yacht being a ‘pirate’ but a really good pirate who only plunders knowledge and is really decent!, and all the chicks dig him, and nothing really happens until towards the end of the book when he steals a time machine and…yeah. There’s this whole woman sacrificing herself for a man thing, and then there was the schizophrenia and that’s the end of this particular tale.

Oooookay. I have a few problems with this book, which I guess is a huge series. Let’s start off with what I actually liked.

There were a lot of fantastic premises; a future where apparently the Republicans have completely taken over – there is no alcohol, no drugs, no goddamned sugar. To ingest any of these things is illegal. Hell, it’s illegal to show anger – it’ll get you locked up in a hospital psych ward. That’s a wonderful take on a future gone wrong.

The whole time pirates thing is a solid idea, its just too bad that it wasn’t explored as well as it could have been. Instead we get rich bum Alec with his Hawaiian print shirts and numerous sexy times with random chicks.

The whole one big corporation ruling the universe as we know it? Awesome idea (even if I kept seeing Dr. Zeus as Dr. Seuss) it just would have been nice to actually, y’know, SEE them in action instead of RANDOM VAGUE ACTION INSERTED HERE, LOOK HOW EVIL THEY ARE!!

Aaand that’s kind of where it ends for me as an enjoyable book.

Problems I had with the book:

One of THE MOST overused tropes in story telling is The Chosen One. If I never saw this trope again I would be ecstatic. Because you KNOW Alec is THE CHOSEN ONE. Therefore he never loses, is super intelligent (though I have yet to see evidence of that) and WINS at everything!

Alec bugs the ever loving shit out of me. I repeatedly wanted to punch him in the face. It was such a shallow character; he’s supposed to be this incredible genius but instead of SHOWING the audience how clever he is we are repeatedly TOLD he is without anything to back it up (actually this describes the entire book - we are being TOLD things instead of having them SHOWN). As a kid he hacked a computer that was nigh unhackable and then…that was it.

He just sort of muddles along with the plot, which I didn’t even get most of the time, and is supposed to be a Hero but I didn’t get that sense at all. Alec is just BORING, all the characters were flat as cardboard.

Another thing that annoyed the crap out of me was the repeated use of ‘babe’ and ‘darlin’ with the women in the story. Maybe it’s a personal thing but I fucking HATE men that use ‘babe’.

And he does NOTHING to earn these relationships, it DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!! He’s ugly as a horses ass, has the intellect and conversation of a brick wall but apparently has this mad ‘charisma’ that makes them wilt with a single glance?!?

The Captain was a good idea in theory but he ended being Alec's cybernetic nursemaid and when he wasn’t available to Alec, Alec becomes bloody fucking USELESS. Mendoza saves his ass, and is imprisoned for her pains.

The other huge, huge HUGE problem I have with this book is the general hating on women. Holy shit, it’s like a guide to women stereotypes:

Mendoza apparently hates other women – she gleefully says she would gladly kill those stupid bitches (his ex wives) for hurting Alec. So we have Hateful Bitch. His ‘mother’ had zero interest in him, in children and was like a block of woman shaped ice so we have (and need I add that the book really shits on women who decide not to have children or who are not interested in them): Frigid Bitch.

One of his ex wives was some rando chick he picked up because she lied and schemed her way into in his money, but once she got settled into the marriage went batshit crazy and starting lobbing insane accusations at him and went screaming into the night so we have: Crazy Bitch

Mendoza is described by Alec’s schizophrenic alter egos as a woman who ‘fucks like a whore and is as wise as Athena’ need I go into how problematic that is? This could also be seen as: Slutty Bitch.

Just…God, so many issues with this book. I didn’t care about any of the characters, I couldn’t follow the plot half the time, I had to make myself pay attention to what was going on and those Three Stooges of the Company? I can’t even remember their names! I had to go back so many times, because I had forgotten who the hell they were.

Dr. Zeus, the supposed great Antagonist of the novel, makes a very short and random entrance and to be truthful there wasn’t any real antagonist. It’s supposed to be about Alec’s great battle against the Company but….no, I wasn’t seeing it at all. It was all just so…boring.

Plus there’s this whole Mendoza is the only worthy female and every other woman written in the narrative is some stupid ‘bitch’ that plays a very short role in Alec’s life. Yea, ‘bitch’ is thrown around way too much in this story. In addition there was this whole, WOMEN ARE THE DOWNFALL OF MANKIND, BUUUURN BITCH BUUURNN, thing going on with the Three Stooges after they learned Mendoza helped Alec survive.

Mendoza was a problematic character as well; she’s supposed to be thousands of years old and I didn’t like that because her personality just didn’t match up. I didn’t like that her entire being was solely dependent on Alec. I didn’t like that she didn’t have ANY agency; her first, last and foremost thoughts were of Alec, NOTHING ELSE. There was no backstory on her, there was no feeling for her character – she was a fucking prop for Alec.

I guess, in short, I’m sorry if you enjoy this series but for me it wasn’t particularly interesting, wasn’t clearly written and was just sort of mediocre.

Back to the library for more random books.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Attack on Titan Episode 5 Recap

Right off the bat, let’s start with some disclaimers. THIS IS NOT FOR CHILDREN, NOR THE SQUIMISH. I know, I know – you’re a paragon of steely resolve, your sinews are made from Wolverines cigar gristle and are Ford tough. Congratulations. HOWEVER, this is an anime that is brutal right out of the gate. That’s what makes it so interesting; this is a world where humanity is on its last leg and the audience is left on the edge of their seats hoping that SOMEBODY is going to survive.

Obviously major spoilers, we will be looking at the series in depth, poking at nooks and crannies and looking at characters and plot and why AoT has gained such insane popularity. There will be cursing, there will be blood. Some of the screen caps may be graphic (I will actually try to not and be too graphic with them, I don’t know who is looking at my blog).

Attack on Titan is a unique and phenomenal story which includes many elements; fantasy, mystery, politics, military campaigns, camaraderie, sacrifice and hope. If you can get past the brutal nature of the narrative its worth watching. All right, let’s get into it:

Attack on Titan Ep. 5 First Battle/Attack on Trost

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A GRAPHIC EPISODE. SOME OF THE SCREEN CAPS MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME VIEWERS.

Previously on Sucks to Live in Ye Olde Medieval World,

Eren stupidly tempted Fate and Fate responded with a bitch slap in the form of a 60 meter monster that promptly wiped out a portion of the front wall protecting the city (town?) of Trost.

Said right-hand-of-Fate bitch slapper then took out the cannons and other defensive weapons on the wall, denoting intelligence in a creature previously thought to be a mindless baby-eating thing. Freaky stuff. What the hell are the Titans?

Well that’s a question that hasn’t been answered to date, even with the continuing progress of the manga.

Eren is quite the little psycho trooper and isn’t put off at all by something that is literally over a hundred times his size. He’s up, he’s at em’ he does his damndest to kill it when – POOF!

Now you see im’ now you don’t. The case of the disappearing Titan.

Eren is just as befuddled, but no time for that. The Titans are coming.

With an impending repeat of five years ago looming over the town, everybody drops what they are doing and evacuates as the military force gathers its soldiers for battle.

With the reality of the Titans invading, and inevitable battle (and death, horrible horrible death that will find you being eaten alive) sinks in as the soldiers realize that barely out of training they will be expected to defend the town.

Naturally, they do not handle this well. Especially when the commanding officer gives a speech that basically says, ‘Yeah, you’re all gonna die, but you do so WITH HONOR. P.S. – anybody who deserts his or her regiment will be shot’

Armin is one of those cadets who is terrified, but mostly because he’s too smart for his own good and realizes that they currently do NOT possess the technology to repair the wall in time to prevent an invasion. Basically, right now, their chances of survival are dwindling into the single digit numbers.

BUT!

Eren unleashes the Power of Fanaticism and goes, ‘Yo, what you worrying about, bro? We TRAINED for this, we totes got it in the BAG. No worries.’

And everybody believes Crazy Eren and stands up to fight valiantly. That should work out well.

The Trio is separated into the groups they trained with; Eren and Armin remain together, while Mikasa, as the number one ranked soldier, is taken to the defensive lines to protect the citizens.

Mikasa has her own breakdown (extravagant for her as she nearly makes a face) not because of facing her own mortality, but because she’s worried about Eren (though to give her credit, she’s probably right to worry about Eren – wonder boy has the survival instinct of a suicidal mayfly)

Let’s take a small break from the perspective of lowly cadets and civilians and raise our awareness to the King of Ye Olde Medieval World.

He is currently playing chess with General Pixis; Grand Mother-Fucking Strategist of Ye Old Medieval World (GMFS for short).

The Monarchy is about what you could expect; the King is lazy, ineffectual, self-obsessed, gluttonous and basically someone you hope gets his head ripped off sometime in the near future. He literally says ‘I don’t give a shit about other people’s lives, so long as my own is comfortable’

The news breaks, and General Pixis takes off to defend Trost, the King whimpering and sniveling onto the General’s jacket as the Generals gives him the Hand. The Man has better things to do, fool.

Eren and his squad are deployed and his fantastic crazy-ass Fanaticism has worn off on everybody else. Take a good look at our redshirts because it’s about to get ugly.

The Titans have come and we have a little flashback explaining what we currently know about them and let me tell you; it ain’t much.

The Titans cannot communicate (will not? Are not able?), they mostly do not seem to have intelligence, cannot reason, cannot speak.(which brings up the Colossal Titan and Conspiracy) They have no sexual organs, cannot reproduce and yet hundreds keep appearing. How they do so is unknown.

They have abnormally high body temps (like, boil a teakettle kind of high) they have survived a century without eating humans therefore it must be assumed they do not NEED to eat to survive, therefore their insatiable ‘hunger’ for humans must mean they exist to destroy humans. They do not go after any other life form. They are extremely hard to kill; they regenerate within minutes, even taking off the head of one won’t kill it.

The only vulnerable spot on a Titan is the small section located on the back of the neck, hence the soldiers gear.

Titan 101 is over, let’s get to the fight.

Poor bastards.

Eren’s squad leaps into the fray – oops. Redshirt number one is suckled down like an oyster from its shell. Goodbye Thomas, we barely knew anything about you. Eren goes into Berserk Mode and charges after the Titan that ate Thomas. Eren is the Hero, right? The Main Protagonist and a Male in a Shounen series; that must mean his Power of Rage will give him the ability to –

Nope.

One of the freaky leaping-frog Titans catches his leg midair and takes it off as Eren eats roof tiles.

DAY-UM, so much for fanaticism.

The squad is decimated in moments and can I also interject that while the Titans are terrifying and awesome as an antagonist they have the most goddamned HILARIOUS designs EVER?

Right, sorry. Back to the slaughter.

Then there was one. Armin is stunned, shocked, horrified – he can’t move, can’t do anything, even as he is lifted into the air and swallowed.

It looks like it’s the end for Armin but Legless Eren hops on over to catch Armin just before he goes down the gullet and tosses him out like a piece of gristle.

And then is eaten in turn.

Armin’s mind breaks into a thousand tiny pieces as he has what can be considered the worst day on record in human existence.

Far away across the city, Mikasa senses a disturbance in the force.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Uncle Baily Says

Today and tomorrow are convention days, where I will be manning a table STEAMPUNK STYLE. We'll see about an extra Watership Down chapter over the weekend. Unfortunately events seem to leap out in numbers, all at the same time, so sometimes things like a blog in which I make no money, and nobody really even knows about, takes the back seat.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Free! Eternal Summer Anime Review

I would like to introduce to you today an anime in need of little words.

Free! has been a popular series for while a now, well-liked amongst the multitudes, reblogged rabidly amid Tumblr and it’s easy to see why.

It’s a heartwarming story of camaraderie and friendship; four high school friends who share the passionate love of the sporting world of competitive swimming.

The anime takes an in depth look at the highly organized and impressive Japanese school system of sports and the sad reality of the beauty of leaving childhood behind as they are fast approaching graduation.

What will our four swimmers do outside the well-structured organization of their school, and without the support of their team?

Feel free (ha!) to pick up the series on Hulu to find out. Yes. A heartwarming tale of friendship…friendship and…..friend…..what was I saying?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Attack on Titan Episode 4 Recap

Right off the bat, let’s start with some disclaimers. THIS IS NOT FOR CHILDREN, NOR THE SQUIMISH. I know, I know – you’re a paragon of steely resolve, your sinews are made from Wolverines cigar gristle and are Ford tough. Congratulations. HOWEVER, this is an anime that is brutal right out of the gate. That’s what makes it so interesting; this is a world where humanity is on its last leg and the audience is left on the edge of their seats hoping that SOMEBODY is going to survive.

Obviously major spoilers, we will be looking at the series in depth, poking at nooks and crannies and looking at characters and plot and why AoT has gained such insane popularity. There will be cursing, there will be blood. Some of the screen caps may be graphic (I will actually try to not and be too graphic with them, I don’t know who is looking at my blog).

Attack on Titan is a unique and phenomenal story which includes many elements; fantasy, mystery, politics, military campaigns, camaraderie, sacrifice and hope. If you can get past the brutal nature of the narrative its worth watching. All right, let’s get into it:

Attack on Titan Episode 4: Night of the Detachment Ceremony/Humanities Comeback 2

So last time we had a brief introduction to the training camp for Titan slayers (hypothetical Titan slayers, as you’ll see in a moment.)

It’s been two years since, and the cadets are getting close to graduating. We open this episode with a training exercise in the woods. Here is:

Reiner – big, blond, kinda dumb but built like a brick wall, sturdy and dependable. The other cadets get along with him great and look up to him.

Armin – He may be little and not as physically capable as the other cadets but he is pretty brilliant minded and suited for stratagem and plotting.

Jean – (John..dammit I’m not sure which one to use) is incredibly good at using the 3D gear but is overconfident and it gets him into trouble.

Bertholt – Reiner’s other half. He has good potential but seems to lack aggressiveness, kinda like he’s just along for the ride.

Annie – hoo boy, Annie. She is crazy strong, top marks in everything but is also cold and not sociable whatsoever.

Sasha – good intuition but is a nutbag, straight up. Still she’s a decent soldier.

Connie – tiny, flexible and good with the 3D gear but dumb as a fence post.

Mikasa – the number one soldier, she’s pretty much a prodigy; inhumanly good at everything.

Aaaand Eren – average all around except for his psycho will which allows him to work harder than anybody.

There we have it – our main characters for the story (mostly). We have an important little scene afterwards; the cadets are finishing up some hand-to-hand combat while Eren wonders, why? It would be suicidally stupid to attack a Titan on foot with a knife.

Dumbass Reiner has a moment of brilliance and provokes Eren into attacking Annie to ‘show her how to be a true soldier’

Yea.

You can predict how that turns out.

But Annie has a good point that she brings up (at the point of a training knife) – why is it that the top ten cadets are taken into the Military Police, and thus are taken away from where they would be needed most? The strongest soldiers never see battle – they become the King’s guard.

Hmmm, something be going down in Ye Olde Europe town.

One moment here to point out another thing that sets AoT apart from other anime – character design.

It’s really interesting that each and every character is unique. Anime has an unfortunate habit of making cookie cutter character designs where the only thing distinguishable between them is hair color (Sailor Moon much?).

Look at Annie’s design; she has a Roman nose, a European face, she’s gorgeous. In fact, all of the cast is pretty much designed as Ye Olde Europe, except for Mikasa (we’ll get to that in a later episode).

Body types, facial features, eyes, hair – everybody is unique and its awesome.

Okay, back at it. Jean and Eren go at it again at dinner time to no one’s surprise. We have one more comedic moment before the seriousness starts in again. Eren and Jean’s scuffle attracts the instructor who appears like a demonic wraith ready with the smack down.

‘What’s going on’ he asks, as everybody panics. Mikasa to the rescue,

‘Sasha farted.’

‘AGAIN?!’

Comedy gold.

Welcome to graduation day. 218 cadets passed the ranks and all of our main cast managed to get within the top ten rankings with Mikasa as number one. The cadets have a choice of three different branches to join:

Garrison – who guard the walls

Scout – who go outside the walls and battle Titans directly

and Military – who guard the King and keep peace in the city

Can you guess which branch Eren wants to join? The Scout regiment has an insanely high death rate and only fools and crazy people tend to join them, so yea, of COURSE Eren is going straight for the Scouts.

He makes a stirring speech about killing Titans, and humanity will strike back, what have we trained for, bla bla bla. Sadly, some simple minded fools listened to him and decide to join the Scouts with him, including Mikasa and Armin because we wouldn’t have a show unless the Trio weren’t together.

We have a very important character point for Mikasa as the Trio discuss their future plans. She says simply,

‘I don’t want to lose any more family’

It can be argued that this is the driving force behind Mikasa. She’s experienced some pretty horrific things in her short life and it has twisted her, and driven her to the soldier she is now. She has become strong to avoid losing anything else that’s important to her, and God help you if you threaten what’s important to her (Eren).

People often mistake their relationship as romantic or unnatural but to me, to put it simply, Eren has become Mikasa’s well-spring. Let me explain; in the book Gone With the Wind there is a scene where Scarlett’s father has passed away after a long bought of illness and madness. It is explained that every person has a well-spring, something that keeps them going, whether that be a thing or more often, a person that you rely upon completely. A spouse, relation, friend or dog – you are happiest and most fulfilled with that thing/person in your life. And when that thing is taken out of your life, some people’s well-spring is broken, and in return, are broken. I’ve seen this with my own family; my grandmother lost her twin and was never the same again, my mother would tell me that it broke her and the person that I grew up with wasn’t the same person she knew as a child and this is what it is meant by ‘well-spring’

Eren is Mikasa’s well-spring. Remember that, because we are going to come back to it in a few episodes.

A very quick excerpt from the Scouting corps:

Commander Erwin – one smart mofo, runs the whole shebang.

Levi, Hanji and …damn I forgot his name – leaders under Erwin who are all veteran survivors of countless run-ins with Titans. Each is a little insane in his or her own way (Hanji, I’m looking at you)

Five years has passed since that fateful day in Shiganshina, our Trio have grown up to become fine soldiers (though they are still in their teens. If they were 12? when the attack occurred they are now 17, which ain’t exactly old and wouldn’t fly in reality, in a real military setting)

Everybody enjoy this last moment of squishy happiness as Sasha steals meat from the officer’s mess because juuuust as Eren is feeling confident in humanity (a red flag if there ever was one)

BOOM!!!

Look who’s back.

In an instant the wall has been broken, again, and its Shiganshina all over again, except this time Eren is ready. He’s got the crazy eyes, he’s got the will and now he’s going to attack the fucking 60 meter giant like an ant attacking an elephant. Till next time, ta ta!