Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 5 Impressions

Vivy Episode 5
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History rewritten in Vivy, but why is AI technology accelerating?

The flaw in Matsumoto’s plan to rewrite history and slow the development of AI’s becomes very apparent in this episode. 5 years have passed since the space station fell and the AI onboard saved everyone, sacrificing herself. Rather than slowing AI development, AI development accelerated nearly twenty years with an autonomous island now being used to construct AI parts.

Then again, maybe this was all in Matsumoto’s original plan. While he has told Vivy they are trying to slow down AI development, every action they’ve so far taken has had the opposite effect. Or maybe I’m just paranoid because Matsumoto seems really shady. Either way, Vivy’s latest mission seems straight forward enough – turn off the island. What could go wrong with that?

Vivy views the increased use of technology.
Not entirely sure what all those structures are for given there are no people on the island, but okay.

Another interesting point in this episode is that a previously significant moment, a human marrying an AI for the first time, has been rendered less pivotal by the changes in the timeline. Vivy meets a man who is being chased by, I’m guessing TOAK, and saves him in a less than visually spectacular car chase before he essentially reveals his plan is the same as Vivy’s and he gives her a vial which apparently holds a computer program that will shut down the island.

There are so many things wrong with this plan and yet Vivy and Matsumoto just kind of nod and go, okay.

For instance, while Matsumoto apparently ‘tests’ the program, there is no guarantee it does what the guy has said it would do. More importantly, who makes an entire island that can be shut down by a single program? That seems like a serious design flaw. Also, why is the guy being chased? Plus, the chase ends because Matsumoto once again conveniently controls things like road safety devices but only when it is narratively convenient for him to do so. Which again makes me wonder why Vivy is even needed.

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Yes, Vivy. He’d like to know why you are here also.

Logical failings aside, I liked the episode. While at first it seemed that Vivy’s impact on the original timeline was minimal, as we move further along we see greater ripples forming and we’re moving further away from the original. I can’t imagine Matsumoto’s knowledge is going to be overly relevant if this trend continues given how far we seem to have already diverged. I also liked that previous pivotal moments are now simply an event that occurs.

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Previously historically significant moment, no longer deemed a turning point.

Vivy seeing the island and meeting the AI there was also interesting enough, however there was always a sense that something was about to go horribly wrong. It was just a matter of what the cause was going to be. Well, throw in a TOAK attack for reasons… I legitimately have no idea what they are trying to accomplish at this point. They are anti-AI but how does heading toward the island in a couple of tiny boats help? Then the obvious failure of the program Vivy was given to actually shut the island down and there we have a cliff-hanger for the next episode in what has become Vivy’s basic formula.

On the bright side, or maybe not, we might actually have an encounter between Vivy and the random terrorist she has continued to save since the first mission given she’s once again saved him from death after he nearly drowned. Then again, I doubt he’ll be grateful. He wasn’t the last time either.

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Do not expect a thank-you.

Vivy continues to be entertaining to watch. I like seeing the progression of her character through the various times and the plot continues to intrigue. Where it is probably going to fail is because of the time restrictions it has (trying to tell the story it seems to be aiming for in a single season – though maybe they intend to go longer, who knows) a lot of things just kind of have to happen leaving us with questions and moments that make us scratch our heads. Basically, you can’t pick at the minutia. On the surface, this story works well. Any detailed picking into the premise will unravel it so it is best to just suspend disbelief and go.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 4 Impressions

Vivy Episode 4
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Mission Accomplished? Vivy thinks not.

Four episodes along and I’m incredibly happy by Ashley’s pick here. While Vivy: Fluorite’s Eye Song had been on my list of anime to check out at some point, largely because of its sci-fi tag, it certainly hadn’t been high on my priority list for watching and that would have been a mistake. I’m really enjoying this story and I’m enjoying it episodically because it is giving me time to think about what has happened, the implications of events, and to speculate. What is a sci-fi without viewer speculation?

However, outside of the genre tag, I’m actually just enjoying this anime because it is clear there’s been a lot of love put into its production. It is truly beautiful to look at and most of the vocal performances (both the singing ones and just the dialogue) have been spot on. It elevates this beyond interesting and into something that is actually kind of captivating to watch even if the after episode nit-pick does undermine some of the plot points (always going to happen with time-travel sci-fi).

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Discarded AI in the rain – still beautiful.

This fourth episode largely closes the hotel arc and kind of sets us up with an expectation for a pattern going forward. The first arc took two episodes then we had a time skip. We’ve had the hotel story play out over two episodes and the preview kind of indicates we’re jumping forward again in the next episode.

In another anime this might lead to the anime feeling disjointed but here we new from the beginning that the point was to alter 100 years of history and our main character is actually not alive so will still appear the same regardless of the time skip, changing arms with another AI, or even uploading additional programs.

Yes, Vivy did in fact let Matsumoto upload a combat program during this encounter. The end result of which leaves me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it shows that Vivy has progressed despite being an AI. In order to accomplish the mission before her she needs to accept it and while in the previous mission she allowed her primary mission (to make people happy through singing) prevent her from adding programs that would distract from that, here she understands that to save the girl in front of her (and everyone else) her singing program won’t be enough.

Image from Vivy Fluourite Eye's Song
Vivy has become somewhat more expressive in the 15 years since she met Matsumoto.

This does however lead to the small problem of wondering where the challenge will be going forward for Vivy. If Matsumoto can simply upload whatever she needs how will they bring tension. While it was cool to see Vivy take direct action in the second half of this episode, things became significantly easier for her and the threat level definitely diminished.

Admittedly, there are other avenues to explore such as Vivy losing a sense of who she actually is if they keep just piling stuff on, not to mention there are other AI who are combat capable, but a lot of the thrill in the first arc was seeing Vivy fight through insane odds without the combat program.

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The action was very cool to watch though.

I was also happy to see they did bring back the guy from the previous episode – you know, the young guy whose life Vivy saved and was angry about it. Well, he’s still angry and still working for a terrorist organisation working to turn people against AI’s. And he most definitely recognised Vivy.

I’m very curious as to what role he will play going forward in this anime given he’s now appeared in two arcs and so far is the only human character who knows about Vivy’s involvement in both situations. I did think he was a little underused here given his late appearance on the scene and then being knocked out and removed from the final conflict, but at least if he shows up in the next arc it won’t feel like he’s come out of nowhere.

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Yep, it is a blast from the past.

Perhaps my biggest issue was the idea behind Estelle and Elizabeth and their backstory. It wasn’t really fleshed out enough to make sense and ultimately just felt like a cheap fix to make the current situation work. Thinking about the experiment they were initially a part of it didn’t make sense that Elizabeth was dumped at the end of it.

Surely simply wiping her program and starting over would have made far more sense rather than wasting the resources by discarding her. I really felt like they needed to either spend more time constructing that particular back-story or just needed a simpler explanation for how the terrorists intended to pull off this whole crashing the space-station plan. It was the one real road-block to this story feeling like it had thought its way through all the problems.

All and all this was another solid episode that resolved the current arc. Sure we’re left with questions, and ultimately still don’t know what impact this will have on future events. I did also feel that ultimately Vivy ‘won’ this round a little too easily, but it doesn’t take away from the episode ending which was both gorgeous and poignant as the credits played over yet another character song.

I am definitely looking forward to episode 5.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 3 Impressions

Vivy Episode 3
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Are the AI really going to crash a space hotel in Vivy?

You know, after the first two episodes, I kind of wondered how Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song was going to deal with the 100 years of history they needed to rewrite and how the audience would ever know the outcome of Vivy’s actions. Episode 3 delivers the answer in the form of a 15 year time skip between the events in the previous arc to the one set up in this episode and I think this actually works in Vivy’s favour.

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That’s some nap.

By jumping ahead Vivy and Matsumoto can discuss the ripples already caused by their previous events and we can also see Vivy’s small progress as a singing AI where she’s now drawing a small audience at least. However, it does create the problem of wondering how accurate Matsumoto’s information is going to be given they’ve already changed the future a bit so how can they be sure that anything he says is going to happen in the future is in fact still going to happen?

I guess that’s a problem for later but the more interesting point that came out of the early part of the episode was that Vivy’s prior expedition did stop the Naming Law from being passed, but her influence on the politician she saved stopped him from disappearing into obscurity and ultimately an even more favourable AI law passed which would seem to be a step backwards if the goal was to not have the AI attack humans in the future. Is this a sign of a self-correcting future meaning there’s no way to avoid the scene we saw at the beginning or is it merely that Matsumoto is right and that was only the first pebble?

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Vivy is also holding a definite grudge after the death of the human girl in episode 2.

Anyway, the mission this time involves infiltrating a space station and stopping the AI owner from dropping the thing back onto Earth. Why the AI would have chosen to do this is not something Matsumoto is willing to share even when Vivy questions him about potential outside interference, hacking or a virus that may have caused Estelle, the AI in question, from taking such action. Matsumoto’s stubborn refusal to talk on this subject makes his intel and motives suspect, though I kind of suspect he might just be a jerk.

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Yep, an AI crashing a space station onto Earth would definitely cause some concerns.

The rest of the episode is Vivy investigating while working on the space station and there’s some beautiful visions of the starry sky involved in this. There’s also some singing (not by Vivy for the end credits). Though on that note, I do love how both the opening and closing credits are integrated into the anime and the story continues through both while the AI’s sing. It kind of adds to the overall immersion in the episode.

The other visual I really liked that I probably should have noted last episode was how plastic the AI’s actually look compared with the humans. There is also a kind of stiffness to their movement animation that really fits with the idea that they are similar to the humans but not human. There are a number of scenes this episode with the AI hosts and the human visitors to the space station that really highlight the visual and animation differences between them and it is really effective.

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Beautiful.

The story here wasn’t resolved in this episode and I killed the next episode previews because I want to be surprised. I’m actually pretty invested in this story at this point and I really look forward to finding out what happens next and learning more about the ripples Vivy is creating and what effect they are having.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 2 Impressions

Vivy Episode 2
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Terrorist trying to kill a man in a high-rise? Can Vivy safely get him out?

It was clear from the start of episode 2 that this episode of Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song was going to be a much darker episode (which given episode one started with a whole bunch of robots murdering civilians in horrific ways seems like it should be the darker episode). However from the opening scene where we have armed men storming a building and Vivy taking a bullet to defend the politician who wants to pass the AI Naming Rights law there are very few moments of quiet contemplation and we lurch from scene to scene of Vivy attempting to get said politician out of this building. (Some spoilers ahead)

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This is your life…at least until time-travelling computer programs intervene.

This episode also gave us a clear understanding of why Vivy was chosen for this mission and why they didn’t send Matsumoto back further or earlier in the time-line. It might be a slightly lame explainer, and fairly convenient if you want an ill-suited singing AI as your main protagonist, but at least they didn’t ignore that this was a problem for the story if unaddressed.

One problem that does emerge though is that Matsumoto has some very convenient technology hacking abilities. While that might be explained because of his 100 year advantage on the current technology, it makes little sense when at some points he seems to have nearly omniscient control of the surroundings and at others the groups get held up by small things. He’s inconsistent in his interventions and mostly it seems to be for the sake of plot convenience rather than logic.

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I do like his sarcasm though.

In this episode we see Vivy stepping outside of her original programming and despite being fairly tough because she’s a robot, she isn’t programmed for combat, infiltration or any of the other actual skills she’d need for the current situation. While Matsumoto tries to patch her with various bits of data (Matrix style downloading combat skills) Vivy isn’t really keen on it given her central mission, or purpose, is to make people happy by singing. It adds some very real tension to the situation and the fast pace and fantastic use of sound in this episode really keep things moving along and kept me invested.

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This guy is either going to fall in love with Vivy or become her sworn enemy. Can’t decide which way this will go yet.

The human villains in this episode don’t get a huge amount of characterisation outside of being anti-AI. The younger and less experienced guy in the crew gets saved by Vivy and is somewhat furious about it so there’s a few ways this could go.

More time is spent on humanising the politician, but largely to point out that even though he’s campaigning for AI rights, he only cares about how that looks publicly and the votes it can earn him. He doesn’t actually care about AIs. It is a fairly cynical look at the motives behind what should be altruistic actions by those in power and as he quickly breaks down at every threat he’s not being shown in a particularly positive light at all.

Vivy Ep2 5
Don’t you know not to get mad at the person saving your life?

Basically I enjoyed the whole building siege and the explosive ending. Then the anime did something weird and after a touching moment between singer and teddy-bear we cut to a scene where the two are fighting. While I put together why soon after, it felt like we’d just kind of jumped ahead and something was missing. It was the first time across either of the first two episodes where a scene change had felt jarring.

But, I did like the reason why they were disagreeing. Vivy was using the information in the paper from the future and realised that her human friend was going to die and wanted to save her. Matsumoto wasn’t having that because it had nothing to do with either of their missions. While this sequence could have been much better presented it does set a clear precedent for future actions.

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Episode 2 definitely build on the expectations set in episode 1 and Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song continues to be a pretty interesting watch. I’m very curious about which way this will go and what the end game will be. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it doesn’t derail before we get to the end.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Karandi James


Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Episode 1 Impressions

Vivy Episode 1
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Can an AI save the world from other AI’s in the span of 100 years? Vivy wants to know.

I’m going to get the two things that bothered me about this first episode of Vivy Fluorite Eye’s Song out of the way because I actually really enjoyed this premiere. It drew me right into the story by the end and honestly there’s a lot that they can do with their set up so I’m fairly optimistic going forward. Of course it could also all derail or fall apart but let’s start the season with a positive attitude.

Vivy Ep1 8
Did anyone else find it weird that inside her own head she dresses as a high school student?

Okay, the first thing that is kind of bothering me about Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song is the title. I cannot for the life of me figure out what that is supposed to mean. I get Vivy, given it is a name one character actually calls the AI singer who actually has the nick-name Diva and no official name at all because the law giving AIs names hasn’t passed yet… Anyway. The Song part also makes sense given she’s a singer.

However, unless a Fluorite Eye ends up being something significant in the story that just isn’t mentioned in episode one, and I’m not sure what a fluorite eye would be unless it is just a reference to the colour of the girl’s eyes, and then that’s just awkward, I’m not really sure how it all comes together.

Vivy Ep1 9
I mean, I guess her eyes might be the same colour as fluorite.

The second thing that kind of bothered me about this anime is the same thing that kind of bugs me about any story that relies on time travel as the central gimmick. I just have to ask what the people in the future were thinking.

Honestly, Terminator is a great movie but rather than trying to save Sarah and John Connor, why not just send someone back to the year they first started developing computers and execute anyone working on electronics? Sure, the humanity wouldn’t develop along the same path but ultimately we wouldn’t create an artificial intelligence that decided to eradicate us and so one could count that a mission success.

Equally, why send a floating cube program back to Vivy to recruit her, a singing AI to save the future? I’m sure they’ll come up with some reason given they heavily implied the guy responsible knew Vivy, but ultimately if the goal is to stop the massacre we see at the start of this episode sending the same message and information back to the government of the time or literally anyone else, would probably be more successful than sending it to Vivy. Maybe it wouldn’t be as fun a story but it would absolutely make a lot more sense.

Vivy Ep1 5
The title. I kind of like how they include the musical staff here.

Now that I’m done being petty I will get onto the actual episode review.

From the very beginning, this episode definitely draws you in. We have this happy song about smiling and bringing people together being performed while over the top we’re hearing the sound of heavy footsteps, explosions, and so on. We cut between the stage performance and the rest of the park (I think) where humans are running or cowering and being mercilessly killed by the various automatons around them.

The juxtaposition of the song with the violence creates something that is perfectly horrific and it is solidly done. By the time we see this one injured guy desperately programming a futuristic looking computer to try to change the past the audience is pretty well drawn into this story.

Vivy Ep1 3
Ouch.

We then cut to Vivy completing a performance to practically no audience and get some basic establishing dialogue between her, a human, and another machine which sets a bit of a scene and Vivy’s character. It’s a little roughly done but works and things rapidly improve after Vivy steps out for her next performance and falls off the stage.

We meet Matsumoto, who is technically a program but soon takes over a stuffed bear character so guess who is representing the mascot merchandising opportunity for this anime, and he essentially charges Vivy with helping to change the future of the world and to stop the massacre.

Despite both Vivy and Matsumoto being programs and having some odd ways of communicating at times, there is some real chemistry between them and Vivy’s constant attempts to make Matsumoto leave her alone and go away and his constant refusal to do so is actually pretty entertaining. They could have dragged it on longer and killed the amusement factor here but instead Matsumoto drops some future knowledge on Vivy and she moves to protect a human and in the process makes a small change to future events.

Vivy sees the carnage in the future.
A small glimpse of the future world.

Basically, this episode moves through the set up in the future, establishes Vivy’s starting point, connects Vivy with Matsumoto and has a bit of a mission by the end of the episode and does it without feeling rushed. We just flow naturally from one point to the next and the audience is swept along for the ride. The great sound design for this anime probably helps with that.

While there’s a lot that could go wrong here, and they may very well end up just treading over the same tired plot points that we’ve seen in other movies and anime that have dealt with AI rights and future technology, but this first episode is solid and sets the stage for what might be a fairly entertaining story. Fortunately the second episode is already available so I’ll check that one out soon.

Images used for review from: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Dir. S Ezaki. Wit Studio. 2021.


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Attack on Titan Series Review Season Three Part Two

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What We’ve Been Waiting For

It is hardly a surprise that Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two took out my reader’s choice for anime of the season. Attack on Titan is one of those series that has a fairly persistent fan base who got used to being patient after the long wait between season one and two and whose expectations of the series have considerably lowered since the explosive first episode. That isn’t saying that the popularity of this instalment only came about because of lowered expectations, but the impact this season had certainly can be attributed to this season raising the bar for the series right back to where it started.

Levi - Attack on Titan

While part one of season three established the secret behind the royal bloodline, season three part two continues to build on our new understanding of the world. While the first half of the season is dominated by an extended battle between the beast titan, colossal titan and armoured titan and the scouts, the second half of the ten episode season is almost entirely back story and reactions to the events.

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Emotionally it works a treat as the explosive action draws you in and then you are hit with one emotional bombshell after another until the very end of the series where you are left wondering what the next move might be but given a tiny glimmer of hope (which knowing Attack on Titan will be quickly snuffed out when it returns but at least they left us with a small ray of happiness).

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This is not the small ray of happiness.

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The action is as good as it ever was in this series with some amazing sequences early on. Levi of course steals the show with his incredible flurry of attacks on his path to taking down the beast titan but his screen time is still fairly minimised. Necessarily so as the scouts as a regiment need their moment to shine under the command of Erwin before utter annihilation for the sake of distracted the beast titan long enough for Levi to land an attack.

Erwin - Standing on the corpses of the Scouts.
Erwin accepting everything has been built on the death of countless scouts.

Erwin’s genius as a motivator is on full display here but I find it interesting that even Erwin questions his own decisions that have lead to this point. Whether he is acting for his own sake or for humanity is something he ponders with Levi before he whips the rest of the scouts into a frenzy for their final charge. It is impossible to know whether he came to peace with his decision or not however he held true to his course right to the end even if he did second guess himself.

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It kind of takes away some of the shine of Levi’s actions when you realise it cost the lives of nearly two hundred scouts to achieve. But that is standard Attack on Titan where bitter sweet is the standard and sometimes they forget to add the sweet.

Levi - Defeating the Beast Titan

While the Levi’s battle is impressive it doesn’t take away visually from the battle on the other side of the wall with Eren, Armin, Mikasa and the others. The sequence is well choreographed, well timed, and all and all these two battles are incredibly fun to watch. Okay, maybe fun isn’t quite the right word given the death count, but you will be entertained.

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However, what I felt the crowning achievement of this season really was is how it has aged these characters. We’ve jumped time before in Attack on Titan but Eren, Mikasa and Armin just seemed like slightly taller versions of themselves. Now we see them genuinely age and develop with their attitudes and personalities bearing the full weight of what they have been through and learned over the course of the series.

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I never really hid the fact that while I liked the first season of Attack on Titan I could not stand Eren as a character. He wasn’t quite in the same league as Asta when it came to annoying shouting protagonists, but he would have run him a close second. Seeing Eren as he is at the end of season three part two of Attack on Titan is glorious. He didn’t just suddenly change who he was. His transformation has occurred incrementally since the beginning of season two. That’s what makes it work so well and feel so authentic. Eren has gone from one of my least favourite anime characters to one I very much want to see what the next step of his story is.

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Now, with nearly half the episodes given to back story and dissecting what that means and reacting to it, the question becomes whether or not this slows down the series. Many other anime would in fact have gotten bogged down in their own exposition and while the information might be important the enjoyment factor would have wound down.

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Not so with this series. Grisha’s past as revealed in his diary is incredibly compelling viewing and every bit as riveting as any of the fights from the first half of the season. Considering the implications of what he is revealing as well as the tragedies that shaped his life prior to arriving within the walls, it is one of those back stories that more or less had to be told and I am really glad they gave it the time it deserved.

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That said I’m not going to get heavily into spoilers here but just know that this season will change everything about how you have viewed the world of Attack on Titan prior to this season, provided you aren’t reading the manga in which case you already knew. I imagine that going in knowing what the reveals are would change the impact these scenes will have, but for me they were game changing.

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Historia also steps up to the plate. While she is sidelined early in the season by her role as a leader, or at least a figurehead leader, Historia returns in the second half and makes her presence felt. By necessity her role has changed in the series but it is her decision to reveal the truth to the people that really makes me respect her as a character. After so many secrets and lies have shaped the world these characters live in it makes perfect sense that when the truth is known it should be shared.

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With great music, great action, good character developments, and the plot moving along at a good clip with reveals tumbling over themselves to mysteries that have been lingering since the beginning, there is a lot to recommend about this season of Attack on Titan. For those who walked away during season two, it might be time to jump back on the Titan bandwagon.


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Attack on Titan Review Season Three Part Two Episode 9

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Grim Reveals and Grimmer Futures

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Attack on Titan Season 3B Episode 9

With one episode left to go the one thing I am sure of is that it won’t be enough. For most of this season Attack on Titan has been hitting us hard with reveals and pushing the plot ever forwards and now it really feels like we’ve finally gotten somewhere just as the curtain is about to close. It has been a great ride, one filled with a plethora of emotions, but knowing it is soon to end fills me with worry that perhaps we’ll have another extended break before this continues or that we’ll lose momentum again.

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Grisha’s story continues as he sits on the wall and learns the Owl’s story and his plans. This is broken up through cuts to Eren, Mikasa and Armin and there are some stunning reveals such as a very finite time limit on those who can become titans. This news seems to rattle Mikasa like nothing else has and it is an enemy she won’t be able to fight.

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You tell us this now?

Combine that bombshell with the idea that all of the subjects of Ymir are potentially connected and memories seem to be flowing forward and backwards through time and there’s a lot to digest from this episode.

I did appreciate Historia’s return given since the end of season three part one they’ve kind of benched her and while she didn’t do much here, just knowing she’s still hanging around is nice. The letter from Ymir to Historia was also a touching kind of moment and one that broke up the doom and gloom a little bit at least.

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Still, the overall situation hasn’t changed. The scouts have been all but annihilated and while they took down the Colossal Titan, the Beast Titan and Armoured Titan are still alive and kicking. They are still in a walled city surrounded by titans and they are still on the verge of extinction. Under the circumstances it doesn’t really feel like knowing the score is going to help them overcome any of these issues, but at least it clarifies how they got into this mess in the first place.

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Attack on Titan Review Season Three Episode Eight

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A Personal Truth

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Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 8

A horrible world needed an equally horrible history and Attack on Titan does do horrible so well.  There’s a disturbing logic behind the events we see in Grisha’s memory and its made worse by the echoes of real acts of idiocy being perpetrated in our own world day after day. The devaluing of others, of labelling groups as less than human, and in the process creating mosters capable of extreme violence and acts of retaliation.

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Attack on Titan reflects the very worst of humanity and it does so with a glorifying spectacle that when it hits its stride, as it did early in season one and in this most recent outing, becomes something beyond compelling. It is almost hypnotic as it draws you into the carnage and pain.

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Answers we have at last about the oddities of the walled city and the seemingly endless supply of titans surrounding the city. What we still have are questions about is why the residents of the city itself are so clueless and whether the royal family was complicit in covering up the truth. More importantly, there’s a real question of why Zeke knows about Eren and why he cares at all about the events occurring inside the walls.

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But we are building a world and a history step by step over this last season and I’m not disappointed by what we are learning this time around with Attack on Titan. However, it remains to be seen how the characters will react to these recent revelations and whether the news will go out to the rest of the city or whether they will sit on this truth for a greater good.

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I’m very curious as to where this will go and what pain it plans to rain down upon its character’s next (I don’t have any real hope that they intend to give any of these characters a moment of happiness at this point). I wonder how much worse they can make the situation or whether there will ever be a light at the end of the tunnel. More importantly though, I wonder what happened next in Grisha’s story because while  we learned a lot from the memory this episode there are some really big gaps still to be filled in.


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Karandi James


Attack on Titan Review Season 3 Part B Episode 7

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So What’s In The Basement?

Attack on Titan - the basement key.

Attack on Titan 3B Episode 7

After so many big moments in the last couple of episodes, Attack on Titan made some smart calls at the start of this episode. Seeing the relief tinged with guilt Eren felt as Armin woke and Eren hugged him was perfect. Seeing Levi, the one who made the final decision, still seeming to be at war with his own emotions clearly conveyed just how big a deal the previous moment was. And then Armin. His horror at what had happened, his disbelief that he was chose and not Erwin, and then his near panicked response as he realised just what weight was getting dropped onto his shoulders.

All of this conveyed through a single scene that brought together the threads from last week when the characters were nearly at each other’s throats over the decision. Hange in particular asked the pertinent question of Eren and Mikasa. Whether they think they can do what they like provided they take the punishment?

Then we move from this quiet moment on the walls to the equally quiet and eerie walk through the town. I loved the juxtaposition between the young Eren and Mikasa running through the streets with the still and somewhat shocked older pair that walked almost mechanically toward the site of Eren’s house. The moment lingered uncomfortably long as we saw scenes of the people who used to live there before they faded away again leaving only broken buildings and the plants that were over-taking the town.

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However, we then get to the moment we’ve been waiting a very long time to see. The basement itself.

I wasn’t actually surprised when the key didn’t work in the door. It seemed like the typical thing Attack on Titan would pull. So many characters dying to get this boy and this key to this door and it didn’t even work? Seemed like exactly the kind of thing this story would do.

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Levi’s response was suitably measured given the situation and then we began the search through the basement in earnest. There’s really no words for how it felt waiting for them to find something. Knowing that even if it wasn’t going to be what the characters wanted, there had to be something in that basement or the story was literally going to fall over. Waiting then and knowing that the episode was going to conclude before we had more than a small taste was kind of torture.

Attack on Titan Season 3 - Opening the book

I will point out that while I’m not a big fan of the ED this season, at the end of this episode I absolutely appreciated the journey for these characters shown throughout the closing credits. This season really is building on every step of that journey and it seemed perfectly fitting this week. Not to mention, you kind of have to hang around for the after credits sequence this week.

And now we wait for the next episode again.


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Karandi James


Attack on Titan Review Season 3 Part 2 Episode 6

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The Twisted Feelings Created By A Twisted Tale

Attack on Titan - Jean - You've got to be kidding me

Episode 6

I know exactly what emotional impact Attack on Titan was going for this week and I know exactly why it missed the mark for me. While I can respect the effort and I think a lot of people will be happy with how it all unfolded, I end up feeling very much like Armin’s sacrifice in episode 5 has been completely undermined.

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Which of course, might very well be the point. Armin formulated a plan, he put it into action, he resigned himself to the outcome, and he held fast right to the end. He as a character had more control over his fate than almost any other this narrative has thrown at us and he didn’t die screaming and pleading for his life or in a puddle of tears and piss. He died a true hero.

Eren threatens Bertholdt - Attack on Titan

Only, Attack on Titan doesn’t really like heroes. Or at least that’s how it seems. It is a world where the horrible and the scheming rise to the top and the honest and noble are beaten down or killed before they have the chance to succeed. So in that sense, undermining everything that happened at the end of episode 5 may very well have been the point in which case it succeeded admirably but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Armin has long been one of the few characters in Attack on Titan I’ve liked and seeing his will getting overthrown like that was pretty depressing.

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The choice?

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However, if we take Armin out of the equation, this episode did an excellent job with Levi. Also with Mikasa, and Jean, and Hange, and even Eren. Emotionally each of these characters faced choices that truly have no right answer and all of them have horrendous repercussions if they make the wrong choice and yet each of them, in their own way, stepped up to the plate. It is rare that I say that I admire these characters for anything but their absolute guts in the face of insanity, but episode 6 brought out the best in them even as they almost tore each other apart.

Mikasa - Attack on Titan - Please give it to me.
I don’t think this settled who would win a fight between Levi and Mikasa given the situation but it was still kind of cool to watch.

Armin or Erwin, who to bring back? Erwin, who sacrificed every scout essentially for the chance to maybe bring down the enemy and a chance to peek inside the basement or Armin who sacrificed himself and thought of how to save the others so that they might continue the journey. I kind of agreed with that random scout that Erwin should not escape this hell so easily, but Levi’s point that Erwin was the character they made him be was understood.

Titan Armin - Attack on Titan

So instead of moved or caught up in the story, my head is spinning with all the what-ifs and maybes and questioning each of the character choices up to now and in this moment. The one thing that is true is that this episode was very Attack on Titan. I don’t know how I feel about it. I don’t know if I’ll ever sort out the mess it just created when I think about this situation. I do know though that I’ll be watching the next episode as soon as I can because at this point I just have to know what is in that basement.


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Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James