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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Editorial: Who Is Savitar, Part 2 (Four More Candidates)

Editorial: Who Is Savitar, Part 2 
(Four More Candidates)

So, since Thursday's editorial, we have, in fact, found four other candidates for who Savitar could be -- and thus, as promised, it's only right that we should collect them here in one place.

For those interested, part one is over here.

I've also been reviewing series three of The Flash. A masterpost for act one can be found here, and the most recent review is over here.

Furthermore, go check out my reviews for The Flash's second series -- a masterpost of act one is here, and a masterpost of act two is here.

Anyway, let's crack on with our round-up of some additional suspects. Have any more we've missed, in this part or the last? Leave a comment and explain why you think your preferred suspect is Savitar.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Attack on Titan S2E5: Historia

Hey, guys -- we've had a weird drop in views over the past week, so if you're reading this review and you enjoy it, consider either giving it a boost on Google+, commenting, or sharing it with friends/communities, etc. You'd be giving me a huge help in fulfilling my arbitrary goal of beating last month's views, as well as contributing to the general growth of this blog. Thanks loads.

Attack on Titan
Series 2, Episode 5

Last week, I incorrectly said that this series was twenty-four episodes long -- it's actually twelve, meaning that we're nearly halfway through now, and that feels more than a little odd. A quarter of the series being taken up by this one day and night is one thing, a whole five twelfths of it taking place over a single twenty-four hour period just feels absurd. 

Obviously, that time has been padded out some with flashbacks -- we've got to see some impressive amounts of backstory for Sasha, Christa, and Ymir, as well as a little bit of backstory for Reiner -- but for the most part, it feels almost like a waste. Had it been so inclined, the show probably could have compressed these five episodes down to about three or four.

Let's Play Tales of Zestiria Masterpost

Let's Play Tales of Zestiria

Tales of Zestiria was a game I wanted to Let's Play for a pretty long time before I did -- Danganronpa was originally a replacement for it, after I discovered that Tales of Zestiria had a pretty awful (and totally unenforcable) EULA that said that any Let's Play, fanart, fanfiction, or other derivative work could be seized and used at any time by Namco Bandai as their own work. So, I played Danganronpa (and very much enjoyed it), and then Danganronpa 2, and along the way, I ended up playing a bunch of other interesting games: 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, Alpha Protocol, Dishonored 2, and Always Sometimes Monsters (which I still need to play the sequel to, one day).

But I did eventually decide to try Tales of Zestiria, and I'm glad I did. It's not a perfect game -- in fact, its story is horribly, terribly flawed -- but it was the first Tales game to truly catch my interest and keep it, and it made for one of the most enjoyable Let's Plays I've done on my channel.

One day, I'll do Tales of Berseria, but right now, the channel's busy with Trails of Cold Steel (for which I've acquired no less than two (2) weird angry guys who dislike all my videos because I didn't like their waifu), Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters (which is ridiculous), Alisha's Story, and, come the end of June, Valkyria Revolution. After that, there's Danganronpa Another, Trails of Cold Steel II, Danganronpa V3, and most likely Telltale Games' Guardians of the Galaxy on the table, so it might be a while until we get to Berseria.

Anyway, here are the videos, do check them out:

The Playlist.

Start of Act 1.

Start of Act 2.

Start of Act 3.

Start of Act 4.

Start of Act 5.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Justice League Dark.

Justice League Dark.

Interesting factoid: Apparently the voice actor they got in for Constantine in this film was Matt Ryan, he who plays Constantine in live-action in both the short-lived series of the same name (which I dropped after one episode, but may pick up again some time), and in Arrow. The man's now played three different versions of Constantine, meaning the only actors who have probably played more versions of a single DC Comics character are Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2 (Second Cour) Masterpost.

Mobile Suit Gundam:
Iron-Blooded Orphans
Series 2 (Second Cour)

So, about a month ago we finished the second cour of one of our longest ongoings yet, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. If you didn't read the reviews at the time, or just want a handy place to find them again, here's a masterpost.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Editorial: Who Is Savitar?

Editorial: Who Is Savitar?

With the most recent episode of The Flash, speculation over who Savitar, the evil metal speedster, is has been kicked into overdrive, with fans debating all of the tiny scraps of evidence we've been given. In the interests of appropriately cataloging all the people it would be, here are eight possibilities for Savitar's true identity.

Do you have a suspect that you don't see listed here? Leave them in the comments, and if we get enough -- let's say, four or more -- we'll do a continuation on Sunday.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Flash S3E19: The Once and Future Flash

The Flash
Series 3, Episode 19
The Once and Future Flash.

"Oh, wow," said I, and also probably everyone going into this episode. "At last the wait is over and we're going to find out who Savitar is. This is going to be swell."

It was not swell. We did not find out who Savitar is, and honestly, that would be so much less irritating if we didn't have the massive hiatus beforehand. Honestly, I was jumping at shadows for most of this episode: I thought it was Cisco at first, then I thought it might be Barry, then Ronnie, then back around to Cisco or Barry -- and HR still isn't off the hook, since he and Savitar share so many verbal tics.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Supergirl S2E18: Ace Reporter

Series 2, Episode 18
Ace Reporter.

The trailer for this episode honestly led me to believe that this episode would be about Lena hiring an evil reporter to uncover Supergirl's identity: The trailer juxtaposed sinister-sounding dialogue from a character giving an interview with one of this episode's antagonists looking menacing, played with the theme of good and bad journalism throughout, and even ended with a shot of Kara looking panicked as her 'S' emblem is revealed under her clothes.

As it is, this episode is still about journalism, but not in the way I thought: Instead, the focus is on Kara as a journalist, and her learning what makes good and bad journalism, and also on Lena, and her dealing with finding and then losing love. It's odd, this is, what, the fourth time the show has tried to tease Lena being or going evil, only to reveal that she was actually good all along, and I still fall for it every time.

(Dear Supergirl writers: Don't make Lena evil. Honestly, if for no other reason, don't make Katie McGrath play another villainous character.)

Monday, 24 April 2017

Doctor Who S36E2: Smile

Doctor Who
Series 36, Episode 2

You know, I came here all prepared to rag on Steven Moffat for using another 'there's some kind of monster and everyone has to control a natural impulse in order to avoid detection' because it's a plot shenanigan he seems to particularly love (and not for entirely inexplicable reasons, either -- it's a good horror trope, it just doesn't work so great when used all the time), but actually, Moffat didn't write this episode.

This episode was actually written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, whose last episode -- and only other writing credit for Doctor Who -- was 'In the Forest of the Night,' an episode that earned from me the stunning accolade of 'not the worst in the series, but also not the best,' but which also drew some of my ire for its weird 'there's nothing wrong with the mentally ill, they're just special and people are jealous' message.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Attack on Titan S2E4: Soldier

Attack on Titan
Series 2, Episode 4

With episode four, we are now officially one sixth of the way through this series. It's not really a landmark moment, if we're all being entirely honest with each other, in the same way that being three episodes in (and thus one eighth) of the way through wasn't, and neither was being two episodes in (and thus one twelfth) was. Still, this also means we're drawing up on the point that usually marks the first major plot turn in an anime's story, the quarter mark at episode six, so that's something to be excited for.

(EDIT: Apparently this series only has twelve episodes lined up, so we are in fact a third of the way through, which is more significant.)

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Magicians S1

The Magicians
Series 1

I initially started watching this series for research reasons -- I wanted an example of a low-budget but well-received fantasy show -- but I'd been meaning to for a while beforehand, having heard numerous rave reviews, and always being interested in finding new fantasy and science fiction shows.

Written by Sera Gamble, formerly of Supernatural (always a bad sign, but Timeless, also written by a Supernatural showrunner, managed to pleasantly surprise me earlier this year -- I may just have to come to terms with the fact that Supernatural has a production bible thicker than the actual bible, and the actual writers have very little control), The Magicians follows Quentin Coldwater, a depressed university graduate looking for a grad school, who's obsessed with the Fillory and Further books -- a novel series heavily reminiscent of the Narnia books. Through a series of strange events, Quentin ends up attending Brakebills, a magical university devoted to teaching its students how to hone their powers.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

What We're Watching 20/4/17

What We're Watching

Heeeey, it's been, like, at least a week since we've done one of these, right? Right.

The Magicians.

So, I started watching The Magicians as MA research and also just generally because of all the hype for it, and I can say that it doesn't really quite live up to said hype, which framed it as the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the American Doctor Who, or a genre-defining work of television that is both sinister and compelling in equal measures.

It is a lot of fun, though. When I say it doesn't live up to its height, that's not me saying it's not an excellent series -- and a superb example of fantasy television working within a tight budget -- that has me basically hooked, just that it's not the Holy Grail of television its fans have made it out to be.

My one big problem with it is my big problem with a lot of American television -- the shallow cynicism of it all. The Magicians is, in essence, about bad things happening to cynical, arch people whose only character arcs basically amount to 'being cynical and then becoming more cynical.' It's the kind of tone that drives a lot of US television (as for some reason it is apparently endlessly compelling to US audiences), and it is totally unconvincing and actually kind of boring, especially when the cynical tone feels so empty.

But that said, I am really enjoying The Magicians, and I look forward to finishing it and writing a review.

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters.

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is an interesting game. With a dialogue tree system that makes no sense (what does it mean if I pick the 'fist' and the 'nose' ? Tell me, game!), posterised photos as backgrounds in the most overtly low-budget move ever, and a story that tries to mimic a thirteen episode anime but not, like, a good thirteen episode anime, it's a game that definitely officially qualifies as 'interesting to play, but maybe not, like, good.'

I'm Let's Playing it right now, so check that out, but what you really need to know about the game is that it's part visual novel, part puzzle game, and part tactical RPG, and it has no idea whatsoever how to balance those parts in any meaningful fashion.

It's got an absurdly low budget, but honestly, that makes sense, because the developer -- Toybox Inc -- is made up of exactly two people: Former Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada and one other person.

Tales of Zestiria the X.

Tales of Zestiria is an anime adaptation of Tales of Zestiria, a game I just finished Let's Playing, but it's a pretty liberal adaptation: I'm only one gorgeously animated episode in, and in that episode, approximately nothing that happened in the game happened.

Tales of Zestiria the X seems to be an adaptation that seeks to fix a deficiency in Tales of Zestiria -- it places more focus on Alisha, has Lunarre and Symonne make their appearances early on as the seeming main antagonists of the story (Heldalf, I'm informed, does not make an appearance until almost halfway through), and while I'm told that the first act of the game is pretty closely adhered to, the anime apparently goes off in a completely different direction from then on.

Which honestly, I think is a good idea. Tales of Zestiria's story had potential but was crippled by a whole load of key, foundational problems -- an adaptation that takes what works and discards what doesn't can really only be a good thing.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Old Harry's Game [Guest review by Reecey.]

Old Harry's Game
Series 1

(Guest review by Reecey.)

You may think I’m weird, but I’m one of those strange people who likes to listen to one song at a time. There are exceptions, but I’m not much of an album person. Heck, I’m not even a playlist person, really.

So I finally got an Audible subscription so I have something to listen to when I do something that requires my hands for long periods.

(Although I have Prime, so I get three free books.)

So, of course, the first thing I got was a radio series from 1995.

Ah, life, you are full of surprises.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Broadchurch S3

Series 3

I've talked before -- in reviews on entirely different subjects -- about how Broadchurch was, in its first series, the most talked about event television in the UK. A clever, atmospheric murder mystery that embedded you in the community of the small seaside village of Broadchurch (and which boasted a star-studded cast), the series far exceeded any expectations of it, capturing audience interest and prompting a fever of speculation over who the killer would be. For good reason, too: Broadchurch's first series was a rare example of a perfect, self-contained story.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Doctor Who S36E1: The Pilot

Doctor Who
Series 36, Episode 1
The Pilot.

As seems to be more often the case than not lately, this series kind of snuck up on me. Until about two weeks ago, I'd been operating under the assumption that the next series of Doctor Who wouldn't be starting until August. Having reviewed the last two series as ongoings, I feel pretty much compelled to do this one also, especially since it's Moffat's very last series as showrunner. Oh, frabjous day, callooh, callay, and so on, and so forth.

His replacement, Chris Chibnall, has written for Doctor Who before (albeit primarily fluff episodes like Dinosaurs In Space) but is best known for Broadchurch, a show that will be concluding its final series in about three hours as of this review being posted. Broadchurch is probably best known for being the show that captured the imaginations of the British viewing public to such an extent that the first series quickly become prime event watching, with television publications fearful of even hinting at spoilers in case the nation collectively tore them apart. Broadchurch's first series achieved a popularity basically on-par with The Great British Bake-off.

Anyway, onto this week's episode.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Attack on Titan S2E3: Distress

Attack on Titan
Series 2, Episode 3

So, apparently the live-action Attack on Titan film did not do well. Old news, I know, but with Ghost in the Shell having just come out, and Netflix's Death Note adaptation due to come soon, it's worth noting that, as someone who is literally studying adaptations, I don't think adapting anime to live action films ever really works. There's a bunch of reasons for that, but the biggest ones mostly boil down to aesthetic and structure: It's difficult to reproduce the aesthetic of a animated series in live-action, and it's also nearly impossible to preserve the story in any meaningful sense when you're shifting from twelve to fifty twenty minute episodes to one three hour film.

Adapting anime to television series, meanwhile, can sometimes work really well, given the right source material. The structure is close enough that you're not having to completely rehaul the entire thing, and in a way, it's almost easier to rework a distinct aesthetic style from animation to live-action when you have a longer format with which to get viewers used to all of the changes you will inevitably have to make if you don't want all of your characters looking like cosplayers.

Anyway, yes, this anime. We left off after a Sasha focused episode that ended with Connie finding a Titan who is definitely his mother, so you'd think this is a Connie focused episode, right?

Friday, 14 April 2017

Editorial: 5 Game Releases We're Looking Forward To.

Editorial: 5 Game Releases We're Looking Forward To.

Hey, guys, you know what we've not done for a while? Looked at some upcoming games we're looking forward to!

Given that 2017 has seemed determined to front load all its big releases into the first half of the year, the number of games with any kind of excitement value set to come out later this year is surprisingly low, but we managed to scrounge up a few that should be good.

Or, at the very least, entertainingly bad, which leads me onto:

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Okay, let's just all say what we're thinking here: 'The Judas Contract' is a terrible, and completely try-hard title. I know the reasoning behind it -- Deathstroke has a contract that eventually requires he betray someone -- but it's still completely stupid. Like, honestly, that sounds like something a fourteen year old would come up with.

Anyway, so, this film actually took me fairly by surprise. DC doesn't tend to advertise its animated films that much, but even by their standards, there was nearly nothing about this before it came out. Hell, it came out and I didn't realise for, like, a week afterwards. Then again, apparently Justice League Dark came out all the way in February, and while I had at least heard that was going to be a thing, I still had no clue it had come out.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Risen [Guest review by Reecey]

(Guest review by Reecey.)

I like pirates.

You like pirates.

Pirates are great, aren’t they?

I also like RPGs!

And I know that Raven’s Cry is crap, so I decided to start the Risen series.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Yu-Gi-Oh Arc-V

Yu-Gi-Oh Arc-V

Reviewing a series this long is always a little awkward. In nearly a hundred and forty eight episodes, you can well expect a series to have occupied just about every point on the quality spectrum there is, at one time or another, and coming up with specific examples to support any point is more difficult than it should be. Still, we shall make an attempt.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Zero: Dragon Blood

Zero: Dragon Blood.

You know, I -- and I think everyone -- knew this wasn't going to be much special going in. The first attempt at a Zero series, Black Blood, was pretty poor, and the concept does not have so much untapped potential as to make it worth pursuing: Rei, the proverbial second rider to Kouga in the first series of Garo, makes for an interesting supporting character, but often struggles when thrust into the limelight, and seems thoroughly unable to carry a show on his own terms.

(Incidentally, god, apparently Ray Fujita was seventeen or eighteen when the first Garo aired. Time really flies.)

Still, I gave it a try anyway, because I am literally incapable of not watching anything in the Garo franchise -- and I suspect that was the reasoning most people had behind watching it. Nobody tuned in out of a genuine sense that this was going to be a brilliant, groundbreaking series -- we tuned in because it's Garo, and while Garo is, as a franchise, all over the place in regards to quality, the promise of its highs keeps us hooked even through its lows.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Attack on Titan S2E2: I'm Home

Attack on Titan
Series 2, Episode 2
I'm Home.

So, someone last week left a comment saying that there were no mysteries in Attack on Titan, every mystery was solved in episode eight of the first series, and I'm confused, because leaving aside how the end of the first series and the start of this one introduced three new mysteries, episode eight is just a prolonged action scene about retaking Trost, and barely even touches on any of the mysteries in the series. I am very bewildered, Commenter #1! Explanations on a post card!

This episode is another one without much Eren, Mikasa, or Armin in, which is strange, but not something I'm against, as a rule. Much as I like those three, I'm also quite happy to have this rolling focus on other characters in the Survey Corps, because they're all pretty interesting, and seeing them all deal with this influx of Titans helps to sell this event as being one of significant weight.

Friday, 7 April 2017

What We're Watching/Playing 7/4/17

What We're Watching/Playing

It's been a while since we did one of these, so to celebrate Blogger going down and Google literally not noticing for three hours, let's have another What We're Watching.

Marvel's Agents of Shield.

So, the third arc of the fourth series has just started, and while it's good, it's also honestly a little confusing. The Framework is meant to be a utopia where everyone's mistakes are overwritten, and we're somehow meant to believe this would lead to the world being controlled by Hydra -- which I would just about be able to buy, except this isn't a straight cause-and-effect style simulation: It's being controlled by Ada, who has even insinuated herself into the Framework as the director of Hydra.

But -- why? Ada has no ties to or interest in Hydra, and does have a vested interest in making the simulation pleasant for everyone within it. It'd make more sense for her to be deliberately altering it to be the utopia everybody involved wants it to be.

Still, this arc does give us evil Fitz, and it is, at least, shaping up to be pretty interesting, so I'll live with a little bit of plot incoherence.

Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Andromeda is not doing a good job of keeping my interest. I thought it was just that I was too busy to muster any energy for a game, but then I played Persona 5 and was instantly hooked, so no, no, it is just because Andromeda has failed to hook me in.

A lot of people would put that down to it being a buggy, weirdly animated game with a lot of 'activate three things' missions, but I actually think it's squarely due to a combination of three things.

Firstly, the vast and mostly empty open worlds, that make getting between missions a study in driving through awkward, boring environs. Secondly, the lack of a strong villain: The Kett just aren't that compelling at the point I'm at, and it doesn't feel like the Archon presents much of a threat, whereas the Geth and Saren were established as being threatening in the prologue mission, and the Collectors in the opening cutscene of all things. Thirdly, the lack of focus: I don't feel like I know what I'm doing or where I'm going, or why I'm doing it. Things just seem to happen, with no weight behind them.

Either way, I'm not keen yet, but it's early days, I still have time to get into it.

Dreamworks' Dragons.

Dreamworks' Dragons, returning for its sixth series, has also failed to hook me, although in this case it probably is just because I'm snowed under with work.

I do traditionally really enjoy Dragons, even if I'm also often quite frustrated by the extremely episodic structure, but I find myself struggling to really get a good handle on this series. I'm only a few episodes in, but they've all been pretty lackluster so far, lacking any of the zest that the series usually has.

The closest thing to a really good episode so far has been one revolving around Tuffnut, Ruffnut, and their cousin, Gruffnut, and even then, it's something you can pretty easily skip.

Persona 5.

Oh my god, you guys, I barely had time to start Persona 5, but having completed the mini-dungeon (the castle, or at least your first run through the castle with Joker, Ryuji, and Morgana), I'm kind of hooked.

The game is gorgeous, and it just oozes style, and combined with a really slick, easy to use, but as-complex-as-any-other-Persona-game battle system, this is shaping up to be a really amazing game.

Incidentally, though, Carrie Keranen is in his game. She was also in Danganronpa 2, Tales of Zestiria, and Trails of Cold Steel, meaning that I've played four games in a row with her in. When will I be free of her voice.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

A quick note

Hey, guys.

A combination of medication acting up, today being my busiest day of the week, and yesterday also being a really busy (and exhausting) day means that the time I allotted to writing a post today was instead taking up by me passing out as soon as I got in the door, for as long as I feasibly could before having to head out the door again (in, like, ten minutes).

So today is going to be sans post, regrettably, but we should be back tomorrow, and in the meantime, thank you all for the support you've shown this blog. If you feel so inclined, go check out my Youtube channel, too, and maybe subscribe.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

DC's Legends of Tomorrow Series 2

DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Series 2.

So, last year, I did Legends of Tomorrow, aka 'DC's most completely stupid television show, and yes, that includes Gotham,' as an ongoing, and I can honestly say it nearly killed me. Sixteen episodes of unadulterated absurdity shot through with a hefty dose of disappointment and an inability to utilise all of its large, ensemble cast, Legends was a fun series, but also definitively the worst DC Comics tie-in on television (and I'm including Smallville in that), winding its way through a totally bonkers time travel plot to a weird and unsatisfying end.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Star Wars Rebels Series 3

Star Wars Rebels
Series 3

Rebels is a series I prefer to marathon, which is why I didn't watch this series for quite a while -- despite this being a verdict I usually reserve for heavily serialised shows, and despite Rebels being firmly episodic, it really does work best when you're watching ten or twelve episodes at a time.

Part of that is that, while nominally episodic, Rebels actually does a great job of having a strong serialised story running through it: The plot threads with Maul and Thrawn run throughout the entire series and give us two compelling antagonists, and those plot threads are backed up with plots about Kallus as Fulcrum, the expanding Rebellion, Sabine, and Bendu. The show doesn't tie all of those plot threads up by the end of the series, but it ties up some, while clearly leaving others to be continued into the fourth series.

Picking up some weeks or months after the incidents on Malachor that capped off the second series, Rebels' third series sees the group settled at Chopper Base and making plans to launch an attack against the factories on Lothal, with the hope of eventually driving the Empire away from it. Before long, however, they come up against two problems: Maul's continued interest in Ezra, and his obsession with finding Obi-Wan Kenobi; and Grand Admiral Thrawn, a brilliant strategist who has been sent to deal with Phoenix Squadron once and for all. 

Ezra has villain hair now, and that's terrible.

We'll run down the technical aspects first: The animation remains good but not stellar, although it does get its moments, especially in the last three episodes, where it manages to become something actually genuinely amazing; the soundtrack is solid and makes use of John Williams classics; and the voice-acting is uniformly strong. The show adds Lars Mikkelsen, who recently played Charles Augustus Magnussen in Sherlock, to the cast as Thrawn, and he does a really solid job; and Tom Baker as Bendu, who is brilliant.

In general, the strongest threads of this series come from the villains. Whenever Maul or Thrawn show up in an episode in any kind of major capacity -- which is infrequently for Maul, and much more frequently for Thrawn -- you know the episode is going to be a good one. 

Maul's odd master-apprentice relationship with Ezra, partly but not entirely reciprocated, is one of the best parts of the series, and when Maul dies near the end of the series -- cut down by Obi-Wan in a short duel before dying in his arms, declaring that Luke will avenge both of them -- there's a genuine sense of weight to it, like Maul knew this would be the outcome but was compelled by their shared history to force the confrontation anyway. I've seen some pretty good write-ups of the weight of history that goes into the final confrontation between those two, how it ties off not only Maul's character arc, but also Obi-Wan's, and while it's a brief moment, it stands out as one of the best moments of the series.

Thrawn, and his eyebrow ridge things.

Thrawn's impact on the series as a whole is much bigger, given that he serves as main antagonist, and you can tell that the show has to have him take a back seat quite often, and force him to hold back, because Thrawn's an established character with a reputation as a strategic genius, and having him repeatedly fail would both undermine that and undermine his status as main antagonist. So instead, his underlings fail frequently, and Thawne comes away with a valuable strategic advantage in spite of it.

When Thrawn does step into the fray himself, it's a lot of fun to watch -- the last two episodes feature a tense and fraught battle for survival against the overwhelming force of Thrawn's strategies, with the rebels only surviving via a combination of Thrawn being handicapped by Tarkin's demand that he bring back their leaders alive, and the intervention of Bendu.

Hey Obes.

The other big, hefty plot thread that runs throughout involves Sabine and the Mandalorians, and while I won't say it wasn't interesting -- it really was -- it failed to catch my attention the same way that the Maul and Thrawn plotlines did, not least because it didn't really have a compelling villain. The closest thing to a villain was some Mandalorian clan leader, but he's so forgettable I can't even recall his name as I write this review.

Ultimately, this was a really strong series, and luckily for all of us, series four has already been announced. I have high hopes for it, especially as we're starting to get news filtering in that the fourth series will tie into Rogue One somehow. With only two years remaining in-universe until A New Hope, and a lot of plot threads to wrap up, it looks like we'll soon be heading into Rebels' final stretch. I suspect they will, at least, try to keep it going for two more series, though.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2E25

Mobile Suit Gundam:
Iron-Blooded Orphans
Series 2, Episode 25
Their Place.

Man, we're finally here, at the end of this series -- with, I think, the events of this episode pretty thoroughly sinking any notion of a direct sequel, although we could still maybe get a film about Ride, or a film or series about the Calamity War. I'd like it if we did, because this is a really interesting universe, and I think an opportunity to explore more of it would be deeply appreciated.

(Incidentally, there have been some severely outraged fanboys over this episode, and their criticisms all seem to boil down to them believing that the quality of a series is directly proportional to how much the protagonists 'won.' Which is weird, kind of reductive, and really childish, but does, at least, explain why those same fanboys keep trying to convince me that Sword Art Online is a good series.)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Attack on Titan S2E1: Beast Titan.

Attack on Titan
Series 2, Episode 1
Beast Titan.

Bafflingly, it seems that I never reviewed the first series, so here's my quick review of Attack on Titan Series 1: It's good; I like how sometimes walls are smashed; one of my friends got mildly traumatised because nobody mentioned that the titans eat people and then she saw a gifset of it; the mystery is A++; why is that uniform so impractical it must take, like, thirty minutes to put on; anime finishing part-way through the story vexes me.

Good, now that that's out of the way, let's talk quickly about the opening: It's no Jiyuu no Tsubasa, and actually, it's probably the least best opening in the franchise, which means it'll probably still be the best opening of this season of anime. The song itself is by Linked Horizon again, and the visuals have a nice turn drawing explicit comparisons between Titans and Earth's wildlife, which will probably be plot relevant later on. We also got shots of people putting on that absurdly complex uniform, so that's nice.

Onto the episode! When we left off last series, Annie had been revealed as the Female Titan and been captured, only to encase herself in crystal, and the wall had been damaged in the fight between her and Eren, revealing a Titan inside it.