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Wow. Attack on Titan has been through some crazy arcs. Revelation after revelation has come and gone, and while many of them have been shocking, none have really hit with this level of intensity, outside of the Reiner and Bertolt reveal in season two. These episodes genuinely made me consider abandoning this episode-by-episode format and just marathoning the rest. Without rambling for too much longer, let us get into it.
For starters, the stakes have never been higher. What sets the content of the final season apart from the rest of the series is its sense of scale, which is on full display in these episodes. The Marleyian army has begun their invasion of Paradis, with a large percentage of their strength, including the Titans, helping out. The story of Attack on Titan has gone from the survival of a small group of people trapped inside the walls to a global conflict implicating millions of people. An event like the rumbling does not just affect Eldians, but rather everyone on earth.
We also find out that Eren, who was presumably on board with Zeke’s euthanization plan, was actually only using him to access the founding titan’s power, even if it ultimately backfires. Part of me wants to argue that this was a pretty obvious twist, but at the same time, was it? Eren witnessed the deaths of hundreds, probably thousands of his comrades at the hands of titans. I am by no means saying that euthanization is a proper response to the situation, it is understandable how someone whose mind has been twisted by that kind of trauma might ultimately arrive at that conclusion.
On top of this, Eren…dies? Probably not, but seeing his head gets blown off by a titan rifle was one of the more visceral scenes of the entire series. While in liminal space, Zeke takes it upon himself to show Eren some memories of their father Grisha, but after a while, it seems as though Zeke is coming out of the experience more surprised. Also, the whole attack titan having the ability to predict the future thing both made sense and did not, but it was a pretty cool reveal anyway.
While Eren spends his screen with Zeke time having a, uh, reverse change of heart? Gabi has a normal change of heart. For her entire life up until this point, the people of Paradis were nothing but devils to her, an amorphous blob of evil on some distant island ruining the Eldian identity. However, as she spends time with the locals, and almost gets killed by “one of her own,” she comes to understand the folly in her thinking.
It is a brutal realization to have, not just as a kid, but as a kid who has spent a non-insignificant portion of her waking hours training to inherit a titan that would be used to kill the Eldians as well. It is the kind of identity crisis that can only come to fruition in the midst of something as traumatic as war.
The stakes were also pretty high for Falco, as despite going with his brother to beg Zeke not to turn him into a titan, he ultimately ends up as one anyway. Well, he was for all of two minutes, anyway, but ultimately end up eating Galliard, and will presumably take the roll of the jaw titan. Still, this was another section where it felt like nothing was guaranteed. His confession to helping Eren back in Marley and admitting his feelings for Gabi ultimately made it seem like his time was coming to an end.
On top of some quality writing, there were also some crazy bits of animation. Specifically, the transition scene between Eren getting shot and finding himself in the liminal space with Zeke was some of the most expressive animation I have seen, not just within Attack on Titan, but across anime period. The way it portrays the slowdown of time alongside the compactness of the battlefield in stark contrast to the empty desert that is the home of the Eldian founder Ymir is breathtaking.
These were without a doubt some of the best episodes in the series, and I am beyond excited to see its conclusion. Speaking of, since it is the end of July, I figured next week would be a good time to marathon the rest of the episodes and wrap up this series, so stay tuned for that!
What are your feelings on the “final” season of Attack on Titan? Let me know down in the comments.
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