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‘Attack on Titan’ S3, Pt. 6: A Victory for Humanity

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Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan is currently airing what may be it’s finest string of episodes yet, and if the remainder of season three continues this trajectory, then we’d best look out for the five episodes remaining.

Following on the heels of Erwin and Armin’s valiant sacrifices in “Hero”, we’ve had a host of new developments but the most massive of these has to be the Lost-like twist that Grisha Jaeger comes from a far advanced city where humanity seems to be at least 50-100 years ahead, technologically-speaking, of the walled cities we’ve come to know.

Yes, the long foretold basement has been accessed at last, and the secrets it holds are as bewildering as they are appetizing. Though we’ve only received the barest snippets of information about these long held secrets, the tantalizing prospects of what next week will offer are more than enough to excite the imaginations of this writer.

Attack on Titan

The moments leading up to the discovery of the basement are fraught with the tension of how much we’ll see before the episode ends.

Still, there’s so much more to discuss than just the opening of the basement at long last. As Levi gave chase after the beast titan, he came upon Armin and Eren, and while the scout titan was able to escape with the beast titan’s owner and Reiner, Bertholdt was not so lucky. As Levi was presented with Erwin and Armin, both on the cusp of death, he was also presented with the decision of who to use Chekhov’s syringe on.

Ultimately, he decided on Armin, and as Bertholdt came to, it was only to be screamingly devoured by Armin’s newborn titan form. Let me tell ya, seeing Bertholdt go down at last, and seeing him go screaming to his former friends for help, as said friends look on totally impassive, well this was about on par with watching Joffrey or Ramsay breathe their lasts on Game of Thrones. 

Good riddance to bad titans is what I say, and I really hope Bertholdt felt those first few bites before he went down the old hatch. Of course, this leaves us with a lot to unpack yet, as Levi’s decision was heavily influenced by the fact that he wanted to let Erwin rest at last. And if Erwin had to die, it may as well have been in service of the mission, and in the place he most wanted to go before he died, here, in Shinganshina.

Attack on Titan Scout

Though we know little about the scout titan, his importance cannot be understated when you consider that he saved both Reiner and the beast titan’s owner from certain death.

This crucial decision by Levi is also something we can’t discuss without getting into what it means for that flash forward we’d been waiting for. I mean, who would have thought that the intense stand-off with Levi would be over whether to save Armin or Erwin? Though Mikasa and Eren both demonstrated their loyalty to their fallen friend, the decision was ultimately up to Levi, and biased though he was, he backed their play.

Now, with several trusted characters (Pyxis, Armin, Levi, Eren, Historia and Hange) holding the reins of power in Attack on Titan, where will this series go with the newly unveiled information that they now hold? Further, how will another powerful titan being added to the ranks of humanity favor the battles which must surely come with Reiner and the mysterious bespectacled leader of the titan faction?

Here’s hoping those two get more than brutal maimings and injuries the next time the survey corps encounters them, but with the survey corps of Attack on Titan boiling down to a meager nine surviving soldiers, the walled cities are going to have to do some serious recruiting before they’re able to challenge the power beyond the walls again.

Attack on Titan Armin Bertholdt

I gotta say, watching Bertholdt’s head get crunched like a watermelon in a Gallagher bit gave me a lot of satisfaction.

Still, this thoroughly resounding victory for humanity, hard won as it was, offers an endless fount of new hope for our protagonists. Now, with so much more to be revealed next week, we stand at the cusp of the most major turning point of this entire series. What surprises does Attack on Titan have left to reveal in the remainder of season three? While our imaginations are running wild, you can expect us back from beyond the walls in a few weeks to break it down.

Mike Worby is a human who spends way too much of his free time playing, writing and podcasting about pop culture. Through some miracle he's still able to function in society as if he were a regular person, and if there's hope for him, there's hope for everyone.

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Anime

Anime Ichiban 33: Coming into Maturity

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Anime Ichiban welcomes our anime waifu overlords, old and new. Join Matt and Kyle this episode as they discuss the return of the Goddess of Anime, Haruhi Suzumiya herself, then hop on over to the new virutal sensation that’s finally sweeping English-speaking nations: Hololive Vtubers!

For this episode of Anime Ichiban, the SHITSUMON! topic will have the duo diving into recently released Aggretsuko Season 3 and The Great Pretender and explore how the two shows work with mature themes.

TIMESTAMPS

0:00 – Introductions and what we’ve been up to
23:33 – The Return of Haruhi Suzumiya(‘s light novels)
37:23 – The Debut of Generation 1 of Hololive English Vtubers
53:07 – Minor news roundup: (Shenmue anime announced; Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel Part 3 movie debuts to huge success; KyoAni fire updates)
58:35 – SHITSUMON! How does anime portray mature themes in its storytelling?

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Anime

Anime Ichiban 32: The Art of Following a Formula

Corporate shakeups and Galapagos Syndrome spell omens of a changing global landscape for the anime industry.

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diary of our days at breakwater

Corporate shakeups and Galapagos Syndrome spell omens of a changing global landscape for the anime industry and that the crew digs into along with how a series can effectively perform within its genre conventions.

TIMESTAMPS

0:00 – Introductions
12:28 – Legacy piracy site KissAnime shuts down
28:45 – AT&T reportedly looking to sell Crunchyroll
43:27 – Galapagos Syndrome: Is anime in danger of losing its global identity?
58:41 – News Reel
1:02:20 – SHITSUMON! How do shows perform effectively and still entertain in genres whose formulae are already well known and expected?

TRACKS

Intro – “Cagayake! GIRLS” by Houkago Tea Time (K-ON! opening theme)
Outro – “Tsuri no sekai e” by Umino High School Breakwater Club (Our Diary at the Breakwater ending theme)

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Anime

‘One Piece: Stampede’ is an All-Star Behemoth Buckling Under Predictability

Does One Piece: Stampede sail all the way to Laugh Tale, or remain anchored in an East Blue of mediocrity?

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As the fourteenth film in Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece saga, One Piece: Stampede was released in 2019 to critical and financial success. As a big-budget commemoration of the anime’s 20th anniversary, Stampede has lots to live up to, from successfully stamping a momentous two decades, to satiating the hype of a passionate global fanbase. Does it sail all the way to Laugh Tale, or remain anchored in an East Blue of mediocrity?

It’s party time at the Pirate Fest!

The Pirate Fest, a grand gathering of the sea’s most infamous individuals, is underway! At the festival, the Straw Hats compete with their Worst Generation rivals to retrieve a treasure of Gol D. Roger. But behind the scenes, festival organiser Buena Festa and legendary pirate Douglas Bullet are scheming something sinister.

Cutting to the chase, One Piece: Stampede soon kicks into an all-out battle against said Douglas Bullet, with Luffy working with friend and foe alike to fell his opponent.

Much like Dragon Ball Super: Broly, also animated by Toei Animation, each frame of One Piece: Stampede is a treasure to behold. Fluid animation and colors spell eye-candy magic, and the odd bit of 3D animation isn’t (too) visually jarring.

One Piece: Stampede nails its mission statement of lightning-paced popcorn entertainment to a tee. Goofy shonen films don’t have to transcend ‘awesome action and silly superpowers’. Rather than shooting for the moon and coming up short, Stampede settles for smashing the sky. With white-knuckle fights and satisfying character moments conveyed with a zippy pace, One Piece: Stampede assuredly brings what fans want. And whilst not as developed or memorable as other film baddies (One Piece: Strong World’s Shiki or One Piece: Z’s titular Z), Douglas Bullet is terrifyingly tough enough to tick the boxes.

Playing It Safe

Whilst the ‘playing it safe’ ethos of One Piece: Stampede succeeds on the surface, the imaginative innovation of One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island is missing, and the excess of characters prevents the possibility of channeling the simplicity of One Piece: Dead End Adventure. Stampede works as anniversary celebratory bombast but isn’t the series’ smartest, and with the core of the film occurring in a single spot and under dull skies, location fatigue rears its head.

For some, the draw of One Piece: Stampede is its constant character cameos. From the instantly recognizable to the deep cuts, it’s a fun gimmick for fans, although the absence of big names like Kuzan and Jinbei are noticeable. Some cameos fall on the side of groan inducing-ly forced, shoehorning a requisite Zoro fight, or overtly shouting to audiences “Remember them?!” Having no effect on the story, these cameos are clunky and break narrative immersion.

Far from the worst of One Piece’s wildly varied films, Stampede is what it needs to be. It lacks the creative spirit of One Piece’s heights and is dampened by its inconsistent cameo execution, but it’s a fine anniversary celebration for one of manga and anime’s, if not the world’s, best works of fiction. For the uninitiated, it’ll be like an avant-garde acid trip, but for those clued-into Luffy’s antics, it’s a barrage of ballistic glee!

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