Winter 2018 Grab Bag Week 8: Mahoutsukai no Yome, Death March

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I really want 3-gatsu to come back…

I’m travelling for work this week, so I apologize for only doing two shows again.

Mahoutsukai no Yome Episode 20

It’s episodes like this one that make me really wonder how this series is going to end. Chise is already someone with a shortened lifespan and she seems to keep piling things on. At this point, it will take a miracle to keep her alive.

I gotta admit. This “wow” was funnier than I expected.

There’s an interesting idea in this line. It’s a common idea that people who commit suicide are acting selfishly by disregarding the people who care for them for personal solace. From Elias’s perspective, you could make the argument that Chise does the same thing by taking the suffering of others on to herself. Given how little she values herself, she probably sees it as ultimately beneficial, but Elias doesn’t see it the same way.

Death March Episode 7

I haven’t talked with this series in a while because my opinion of it really hasn’t changed. When I was reading the manga, I saw this series as pretty average, as it doesn’t do anything special as an isekai show. However, the anime has been giving me more of a negative impression because I feel like it doesn’t work well as an adaptation.

Nothing against Mia, of course. She’s adorable.

I really don’t understand why this series relies so much on photo montages to pass the time. I can understand having them occasionally, but this series feels like it’s largely showing me a series of screenshots instead of a moving picture.


Ousama Game First Impressions (1): Plenty of death to go around

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I was surprised that this series added a pretty simple twist to standard setup to make things seem very different. There’s nothing particularly special about a class having to work together to survive a death game. But what happens if one of the students has gone through the game once already? It’s not a bad twist, but I’m honestly not sure it was handled well.

What does this change accomplish? Well, it adds an extra point of tension to the game. The class wants to know who is behind the Ousama Game, and they suddenly have a suspect who conveniently knows a little too much about the game. Plus, Nobuaki even admits that he’s the only survivor from the previous game, which is pretty suspicious. As such, I’m still not sure whether I liked the death of the “bully” character at the end of the episode, because it partially exonerates Nobuaki.

My biggest hope for the twist is that it lowers the learning curve for the game. The class naturally has to figure out this game, but having someone with experience should make that a simple question and answer session rather than a series of trial and error. Nobuaki can tell everyone what kind of orders to expect, how many come at a time, and what the progression of the game is.

I’m pretty sure his name isn’t “Tubasa”.

The main criticism I have for this episode is how…dumb the characters seem. I wonder if this is foreshadowing of the kinds of deaths we should expect to see in this series. For example, Natsuko’s friend claims to have some special knowledge that Natsuko is interested in Nobuaki, which is something that should have been incredibly obvious when Natsuko didn’t object to the kiss.

In another scene, Nobuaki says that his girlfriend is “very far away”, and then immediately asks Natsuko whether she believes in heaven. Maybe Natsuko was being polite, but that seemed pretty blatant to me.

Anyway, I think this series seems curious enough from this first episode. I’m interested enough to want to see where it goes. If I go by my standard rule, the first target is always the culprit, meaning it’s either Nobuaki (which would actually make for a pretty cool twist) or Natsuko.

And…protagonist desk: check.

Attack on Titan Episode 37: Time for another season?

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Well, I give this season credit for not ending on a cliffhanger. I was honestly expecting it. Anyway, this episode ended up being a decent resolution for the arc, with the combination of Eren’s new ability and Hannes’s death. Overall, I felt like this season did a good job of putting the focus on some of the side characters. It sounds like a third season is coming, so that should be fun.

Ymir seems pretty willing to help despite this statement.

This is the second time we’ve had a scene like this, immediately cutting into a person being eaten by a Titan. I still haven’t decided whether it shows how devastating Titans are or how incompetent humans are.

Uhh…that’s a pretty cool song playing in the background.

At this point, Eren’s inability to transform when he needs it isn’t surprising anymore.

Yeah, he was getting a bit too much character development. It’s too bad, though. I was hoping Hannes might get some redemption.

This is probably the closest thing we’ll get to romance in this series.

A new power has been unlocked.

I was thinking the same thing, Reiner. Eren’s way too emotionally unstable for a power like that.

I’m not sure I understand why Ymir ends up going back for Reiner and Bertholdt, but it might have something to do with the stuff Historia said about living for herself. I wonder if Ymir accepts that Historia doesn’t need anymore protection or something.

I have no idea what this epilogue is saying. We’ve been watching the Scouts as they examined Wall Rose and declared that it wasn’t breached. However, this line doesn’t really mention that, making it sound like the authorities made up the story about Wall Rose being secure without any confirmation because of the overpopulation crisis.

You were the chosen one after all! Somehow Erwin knew the whole time!

I honestly wasn’t expecting this kind of reaction. I guess it raises a question of when we decide that a human is no longer human.

Final Score: 7/10

Attack on Titan Episode 36: Choosing sides

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I think the best moments in this episode for me were the ones showing the lengths that people are taking to save Eren. When you take a step and think about it, it feels weird to all of this for a character like Eren, but I guess his personality isn’t important when he has crazy Titan powers. But other than that, I don’t really have much else to say about this episode. Next week, we’ll probably see all of the might of the special Titans get eclipsed by a seemingly mundane Titan.

Ahh…everyone’s riding off into the sunset. I hate to ruin the illusion, but are the horses, Armored Titan, and regular Titans really all going at the same speed?

Wait, it sounds like Ymir’s argument is that the Titans aren’t so bad if you overlook the fact that they’re always trying to eat humans. That can’t be right, can it?

Wow, Bertholdt…that’s a hell of a guilt trip. I’ll be surprised if this works.

I’m all for pretty waterfalls and everything, but is this supposed to be some kind of nod to the idea that Ymir has been getting caught up in the flow of things? I’m not great at this.

I know we saw this in the preview last week, but this is honestly frightening. The yandere found us!

The gang’s back together.

It’s kind of interesting to have this flipped back on Bertholdt. It shows the difference in sincerity between the two approaches.

Eren is the chosen one!

Are these guys put in this episode just to be the butt of every joke? They really serve no purpose as far as I can see.

Erwin had to have allowed himself to be eaten on purpose. There’s no way he didn’t see this Titan. This guy’s insane…

I guess this is meant to show how distracted Mikasa becomes when she’s trying to save Eren. You’d think that someone with her skills would notice the Titan standing nearby.

Armin’s desperate attempt to be helpful here is pretty cool. He realizes that he has to throw away his pride to save Eren and uses Annie to his advantage. It’s about time he was useful.

Gasp! We know this Titan!

Attack on Titan Episode 35: Christa obsession

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This week’s episode was pretty interesting in that it set up Ymir more as a character by introducing some backstory from a later chapter. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad since she felt less interesting when I was originally reading, but I think the scene introduces some concepts from later in the series. I’m kinda wondering how that will affect the progression of the anime since I already know this stuff. That aside, I guess next week is finally the big confrontation between Titans and Scouts?

I have no idea why this guy is so flustered. I guess he probably hasn’t seen the Titan stuck in the house yet, but we certainly have. Additionally, the dialogue referencing the lack of blood and the presence of the horses is rehashing reasoning that we’ve seen already. I guess this entire scene is meant to confirm what we’ve already suspected or something.

This looks like more babble that’s meant to set up something later in the series. I should probably pay attention.

What exactly does this accomplish? I mean I’m not surprised, but still…

Is Bertholdt saying that people who become Titans will always forget eating a human specifically? That makes sense and sounds like an interesting idea because it calls motive into question. Did Bertholdt forget the guy he ate on the wall? Surely he wouldn’t if he had the foresight to take the guy’s gear. Maybe Bertholdt was saying that they always forget the first human they eat or something, but Ymir says she was wandering for 60 years.

Wait…did Ymir just notice the smoke signals? It’s the only conclusion I can draw given her confusion with Reiner’s haste here and her reaction to seeing the smoke signals in the next scene. How the heck did she miss them?

I’m honestly surprised Ymir doesn’t jump off of Bertholdt’s back.

I’m assuming these guys picked Ymir because she looked the most like the king or something. I’m still wondering why the blood of the king makes her worthy of worship, but I guess it’s not important to this story.

Hmm, this flashback makes it seem like Ymir was turned into a Titan and had to eat a human to return to human form. It certainly explains the “forgetting” thing from earlier in the episode. This flashback also does a decent job of explaining why Ymir and Christa are similar.

Join my suicide mission or I will make your life difficult!

Hey, this looks like a casual nod to the idea that the Military Police are terrible at their job! Random soldier dies!


I feel like I’ve seen this before…

Attack on Titan Episode 34: Titan talk

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Well, it looks like we’ve got another quieter episode this week. I say that as a reference to the lack of action, because there was certainly a lot of yelling. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but Eren was particularly insufferable in this episode. His logic really made no sense and a portion of the episode was devoted to getting him up to speed on stuff we already know (the Beast Titan specifically). That being said, I thought the focus on Reiner was pretty interesting. The mind break discussion explains why he was willing to go to such lengths to protect his friends. Anyway, it looks like we’ll get back to the fighting next week since the Scouts have arrived.

Huh? Does Hange trust this guy to take note of the details she would catch? Why is it sufficient for him to go in her place? She should at least tell him what she hopes to see.

Ymir says this like it’s supposed to help explain anything. Her condition was caused by a completely different situation than Eren’s condition, so why does the comparison even matter?

Titans can be afraid? That’s new.

Am I missing something? It sounds a lot like the only reason Eren has doubts here is the fact that Reiner decided to stop at these trees. That’s a lot of weight put on someone he can’t trust.

What exactly is stopping them from doing this right now? I really don’t understand Eren’s logic.

Reiner’s acting pretty wimpy for someone who took a Titan bite to the arm like a champion.

Man, Reiner’s mind must have really snapped if he’s saying stuff like this.

This stuff about Reiner and his unstable mind. It makes a bit sad that I didn’t look out for hints at it in his behavior. Just how set up was this revelation? Either way, it kinda explains why Bertholdt has such a small presence in the group. He can’t be confident speaking to Reiner because he’s not sure whether he’s talking to the soldier or the warrior.

I kinda agree with Reiner here. Eren’s doing his standard yelling thing, but I don’t think it really accomplishes anything here.

Oh right…I forgot that Eren doesn’t really know anything about the Beast Titan yet.

Uhh…what? These guys went on about how they broke the wall, but they want Ymir to believe they would protect Christa in particular? I know Reiner had the scene with her in the tower, but that’s kinda pushing it.

Why does Eren keep asking this? Is he just asking for specifics on the Beast Titan? Surely there’s a better way to ask than yelling about “the enemy”.

Attack on Titan Episode 33: Old times

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I’m not too sure about this episode. I guess it was a necessary cool down, but there wasn’t a lot happening. I didn’t have a huge problem with seeing how Hannes has been acting as a guardian for Eren and his friends either, but it felt like it was the only thing that happened in this episode. Anyway, next week’s episode should be more fun since we’ll get some more information on Reiner and Bertholdt.

I want to take a second to address the cliffhanger resolution in this episode, because I think it highlights my main issue with them. When the episode starts, it takes only about two minutes for all of the drama and intensity to fizzle. Would it really have been less dramatic if the previous episode had ended with a shot of the Armored Titan running off with Eren? It still feels like a pretty tense moment where we don’t know what will happen to Eren, so I think it would have been equally effective. But then again, maybe this episode wouldn’t have been as interesting without the bit at the beginning.

Wait, Bertholdt and Reiner were unarmed when they transformed, weren’t they? When did Bertholdt get this gear? This might be why he ate the second guy back when he first transformed. I was wondering about that when I first saw it.

I thought we were past this “the Scouts are a disappointment” banter. I suppose this is meant to show that the people from the inner sections have no idea what’s going on outside their walls.

Is it time to send out the reinforcements?

Why are the outlines so thick here? I have no sense for visuals, so it might be intentional. But it’s noticeable to the point of feeling out of place.

Also, Eren seems to be winning the fight against this guy, but his friends don’t seem to care.

He’s not wrong. Honestly, this flashback seems to be more about highlighting how much Hannes has changed than anything else.

I found this scene funnier than I really should have. Mikasa dramatically looks over the wall to see what happened while she was unconscious and sees that one Titan sitting there with a goofy expression on its face. I could just imagine it saying “hello” or waving.

He’s such a good friend…

I think this series generally handles flashbacks well, but I didn’t really see what this one was accomplishing. After all, it’s a scene we had just been shown in this episode.

This minor focus on Hannes and how much he’s changed is a nice touch. I can’t remember how much this has been emphasized before now, but I think it’s cool that he’s been working to atone for his past self in the background.

I’m sorry. I know that Hange is explaining why Reiner and Bertholdt might be in that forest, but I’m completely focused on these lifts. I was curious how they stopped the cart from tipping when they hit the bump in the wall, so seeing the wheels on the wall-facing side was pretty cool.

Let’s have a chat?

Attack on Titan Episode 32: Titan MMA

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I thought this episode was strong, but not just for having the Titan battle. The battle was cool and did a good job of showing how and why Eren, someone who was far too obsessed with Titans to care, would know anything about handling himself in a Titan v. Titan battle. But I liked the small nods to how messed up some of the major characters were after the big betrayal. Connie is unable to accept that Reiner and Bertholdt have betrayed him despite being so suspicious of the Titan outbreak in his village. Mikasa, generally portrayed as unemotional and strong, laments her inability to strike her friends down when she has the chance. Anyway, it looks like everything falls apart next week…

With the way this scene was introduced, I totally thought we were getting a flashback to the scene where they were examining the wall in the dark.

Yeah, slow motion! It makes thing so much more dramatic!

Why would you ever think this?

So…is Bertholdt increasing his internal temperature to release this steam? I’m pretty sure that cooks the two people he put in his mouth.

Sure, this is something new, but did we really need this rewind effect? I honestly think it just makes things more confusing.

Was I supposed to be laughing at this scene? I ask because I totally was. Eren winds up for his comeback and just gets swatted away.

I honestly had no idea how Eren could fight in a situation like this, but using the flashback to give him a way to fight back is a nice touch. I like the moments when Eren is actually thinking about his moves.

They did try to recruit you about 20 minutes ago, didn’t they?

Was Eren ever not in control? I guess they don’t know what’s going on in his head while he’s fighting in Titan form, but did they really think that a berserk Eren would be able to gain the upper hand on Reiner?

We just saw the armor fall apart on the back of Reiner’s legs, so this hardly seems like a useful revelation. Isn’t his entire back leg exposed right now?

Again, I can’t tell whether it makes sense for these people to be so focused on the Armored Titan that they don’t notice that he’s right next to the Colossal Titan. Armin does note that it’s suspicious that the Armored Titan stopped where he did, but it’s been established that he tends to notice what others don’t.

You’re kidding me with this cliffhanger, right?

Attack on Titan Episode 31: Oh by the way…

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Even though I knew what was coming, I still enjoyed watching it all play out. I really do appreciate it when a series leaves so many hints and I think that watching it for a second time makes it more enjoyable. I was able to really focus in on those hints and gain a larger appreciation overall. But yeah, this was a pretty dark and suspenseful episode which leads into a hopefully more action-focused episode next week. Sounds like a good deal to me.

Side note: I feel like I’m obligated to complain about the extended recap at the beginning of the episode. I think it’s the first time we’ve really gotten something like this and it felt ridiculous because Ymir didn’t even have a major role in this episode.

Not to be a stickler, but how does he know this? Also, I heard “scrambled eggs” in the Japanese, so I’m going to blame the original dialogue for this line.

Huh…that was easier than I expected. Though, I guess Hange has more reason to trust Ymir than someone of influence in this world.

Time to re-evaluate some life choices? Is Reiner blaming his nature for putting him in these dire situations? I don’t quite get this one.

Going a little bit off the deep end, aren’t we? I guess I’m also wondering why Eren brought up their hometown in the first place.

It’s weird. This line feels like such a repetition, but when I think about it, this is the first real confirmation. We’ve been given so many hints up to now that I had basically taken it as given that there was no hole, but it’s a counter-intuitive conclusion and the only other investigation was done in the dead of night.

Come again? Haha this is the most casual reveal I’ve ever seen. Now I can finally say it. Even before this reveal, was I the only one who was really confused at how similar the Armored Titan and Reiner were in appearance? I don’t think that part of the reveal should be surprising at all.

I mean, it makes sense that they wouldn’t have a reason to investigate a person’s background heavily in a world like this, so I won’t really get too upset that they’re just finding this out now. Overall, I think that this scene’s pretty sweet. Very detective-like.

I really like how this reveal plays out, how all of these scenes are placed to seem innocuous and yet allow for this level of deception to be happening in the background.

Honestly, I was going to complain about Eren’s words here. They’re practically impossible to believe. But then I considered a different angle. Eren has been the most resistant to the idea that Reiner and Bertholdt have been lying to everyone all along, so he’s probably trying to reject the reality himself.

Having the flag snap to give a sound to the “snapping” in Reiner’s mind as he gives up playing his role is a nice touch.

It’s about time we got a good Titan fight in this season.

Attack on Titan Episode 30: Just in time

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I’m not totally convinced with this episode. Given the way the previous episode ended, I found it odd that half of this episode was devoted to the flashback. Based on other reactions I’ve seen, it looks like this isn’t the first time in this season where scenes in the manga were shuffled in order to create an episode ending with more of a cliffhanger. I’m just not sure I appreciate that.

That being said, I have to say that the most interesting part for me in this series is how the story handles information. I think the series manages what information each character knows and how they react to situations based on that very well. It’s something I have to constantly remind myself while I’m watching.

And as a final question for this episode…what happened to the Beast Titan?

Now that we’ve established that Ymir, the girl who is always with Christa, is a Titan, it’s time to give those two some backstory!

Darn it, Ymir. I was going to ask that.

Whoa, this is kind of messed up. The problem I had with this scene is I’ve seen enough from Ymir to see it as another attempt at being extreme. I get that the scene is basically screaming that what Ymir is saying is actually accurate, but it’s less believable coming from her.

Haha “borrowing”. That was funnier than it should have been and completely unrelated to the scene.

As we later find out, Eren and the others are on their way to find Ymir and Christa, but I guess in this world it makes a little sense that the two wouldn’t rely on that.

Ymir had a lot of confidence that Christa could make it back on her own give that she literally tossed Christa into a tree.

Wow, they’re related to that Titan! Who would have thought?

Always weird to have to remind myself of how much information these guys have at this point. I think they’re line of reasoning is pretty understandable given what they’ve seen so far. Sure, Ymir has been their ally, but Annie was the same. Plus, Ymir seems to be aware of her Titan powers, more so than Eren, so it’s almost like a betrayal.

This is cool and all, I’m not sure how much it makes sense for Ymir to go straight to destroying the tower when Christa yells at her to stop worrying about it.

That’s a considerable amount of plot armor for a side character, especially in a show like this. Just in the nick of time.

He’s a little bit too happy about that one.

That’s a name?