Spoiler Free Review:
I have waited to see this moment animated for a long time.
Coming into season three, I knew that “Hero” was going to be one of the series’ best episodes and, thank god, I was right.
As a manga reader, it would have been bitterly disappointing if they had screwed this up somehow, but they adapted Hajime Isayama’s story perfectly.
“Hero” is a non-stop, action packed, emotional thrill ride that will leave you both cheering and crying on multiple occasions.
If you thought things could not get any sadder after Erwin’s desperate suicide charge last episode then you have another thing coming.
The theme of sacrifice from “Perfect Game” is continued in “Hero” with an arguably worse case of it this time around.
We get to see the remains of Erwin’s own suicide squad carry out their mission in all its horrifying detail, as Levi makes his move of the Beast Titan.
This led to a scene that was so amazingly animated and satisfying that I expect many people will be screaming at their screens when they see it.
Levi’s voice actor, Hiroshi Kamiya, does a great job this episode, displaying Levi’s rage and vulnerabilities brilliantly.
The best performance out of everyone, though, goes to Marina Inoue as Armin in a gripping scene that will have you on the edge of your seat.
“Hero” definitely displays why Armin is my favourite character, and if you did not like him earlier, for some reason, then this episode will surely make you love his character.
Adding to all these greats scenes the actors voice is the absolutely amazing animation and music.
The scene with Levi is the best animated scene in Attack on Titan since he fought Kenny’s squad in the second episode of season three, “Pain.”
On top of this, the music is just as thrilling, with one new piece coming at the end bringing out all the emotion.
This is why Attack on Titan has my favourite soundtrack out of any series I have seen.
I do have some issues with the CGI Colossal Titan and the censorship taking away some of the impact, but these are so minor that the rest of the episode’s greatness far overshadows them.
“Hero” is an episode I have been looking forward ever since I read the manga, and it far exceeds my expectations.
It is already well in my top five favourite episodes.
And the best part?
The episodes are only going to get more amazing from here.
Many people were excited to see Levi fight the Beast Titan after last episode but what we get is not a fight… it’s a massacre.
Levi absolutely eviscerates Zeke this episode, in an amazing action sequence that makes me glad the series took a hiatus to perfect this.
Zeke completely deserves this too after what he did, to Erwin last episode, and the rest of the scouts in this episode.
Watching Marlo’s last moments is just as impactful as it was in the manga, with my only problem with these moments, again, being the censorship.
I think if they showed it the way the manga did it could have been a lot more impactful.
However, given that it is already so impactful, this is hardly a major problem.
Sadly, Levi’s victory is short lived because the quadruple Titan returns to rescue Zeke who then sics the rest of the mindless Titans on him, like a pack of wild dogs.
This is Levi we are talking about, though, so he is probably fine.
That said, hearing the crushing defeat in his voice after Zeke escapes is brutal, showing how good a job Kamiya did.
We then get a look at what appears to be the sole survivor of Zeke’s attack, Floch, who is somehow unharmed.
If you did not notice this guy beforehand that is understandable, however, you should definitely take notice of him now because this is where he officially becomes an important character.
After this, the episode switches to Armin and the gang’s fight against Bertholdt and Reiner.
Coming out of his stupor from the previous episodes, Armin comes up with a bold plan to defeat Bertholdt, but one that may cause him to pay the ultimate price, unfortunately.
Using Armin as a distraction gives Eren enough time to sneak behind Berthodlt and cut him out of the Colossal Titan, chopping off his limbs in the process.
However, Armin’s distraction may prove fatal because he is horrifically burned by the Colossal Titan’s steam, yet continues his plan in a scene that defines Armin as the titular “Hero” of the episode.
I will once again say that Inoue did a fantastic job voicing Armin.
The pain she displays in Armin’s voice, with him entrusting his dream of seeing the ocean to Eren, as he is being burned alive is so emotionally gripping.
I teared up during this scene and, watching others react to it online, I know I am not alone.
Again, the one minor nitpick I have is the CGI Colossal Titan.
It is not terrible but it is a bit jarring when the shots switch between CGI and regular animation because the different is quite noticeable.
While this tragic sacrifice is happening, Miksasa, Jean, Sasha and Connie make their move against Reiner.
In the end Jean and Sasha are injured, and Mikasa is left with only one thunder spear to defeat him.
Just as all hope seems lost, who should jump in to save the day?
Hange, minus one eye.
The music of theses scenes where the scouts take on Reiner and Bertholdt is amazing and serves to enhance the emotional epicness of these moments.
Then there is the animation of Mikasa’s final attack, which is just as great as when Levi takes on Zeke.
Also the slow motion shot of Eren taking down the Colossal Titan is all kinds of epic.
The final scene of “Hero” sees Eren dragging a mutilated Bertholdt to Armin’s burned body and declaring he always knew he was a hero.
Touching and tragic, and it only to get even more so because next week is the anticipated Serum Bowl.
If you do not know what the means then hold onto your seats next week because it will be crazy.