Spy x Family, Episode Nine, Show Off How in Love You Are Review: Don’t Encourage the Creepy Brother, Yor.

Picking up from the cliffhanger of the previous episode, which teased a kiss between Twilight and Yor, Episode Nine of Spy x Family, “Show Off How in Love You Are,” pays that cliffhanger off but not with a kiss.
Directed by Takashi Katagiri, the episode begins with Yor getting herself drunk so she can kiss Twilight.
Not exactly flattering for the spy but it was probably the nerves that made Yor do this.
Unfortunately for Yuri, this leads to him being mortified when Yor’s drunkenness makes her act rather lewd when she goes to kiss Twilight.
Unfortunately for us, this builds into another flashback from Yor and Yuri’s past.
The reason this is unfortunate for us is because it shows just how deep Yuri’s obsession for his sister goes.
Yor kisses Yuri on the cheek for scoring a 100 on his test, and Yuri responds by saying he will marry her when he grows up.
Yor’s response to this is to sit Yuri down and tell him that they cannot get married because they are siblings, although she still loves him as family.
Nah, just kidding.
What Yor actually does is say that she will wait paitiently for him.
Thankfully, Yor is clearly humoring Yuri in this flashback.
It did no favors for Yuri, though, as this memory leads to him lunging to stop the kiss between Yor and Twilight, only for the pay-off for the teased kiss to arrive.
Not with an actual kiss, however, but with a slap, because the pay-off for last episode’s cliffhanger is humor.
Too embarrassed to kiss Twilight, Yor appears to try and slap him, only to accidentally slap Yuri into the wall instead, causing him to sprout blood from various parts of his head.
The crashing sound also wakes Anya up who, still half asleep, comedically thinks it’s the end of the world, before falling back into bed.
Back with Twilight, Yor and Yuri, Yor goes from unintentionally slapping Yuri to intentionally slapping him, when he tearfully gives Twilight his permission to kiss his sister, before he storms from the house, all the while Twilight is trying to convince him to go to the hostpital.
This gag goes on for a good while too, with Yuri eventually asking two strangers about the station’s location, only for them to scream at him to go the hostpital first.
Afterwards, we get my favourite scene of the episode, which is Anya’s reaction to the previous night when she reads her parents’ minds.
First, she stumbles from her room, still half asleep, mistaking a plant for Twilight.
Both him and Yor are surprised to hear that Anya does not even remember how excited she was to meet Yuri, before she fell asleep.
Anya only remembers this when she reads Twilight’s mind and learns Yuri is a member of the Secret Police, meaning she was denied her daily excitement that comes with having a spy and an assassin as parents.
Her outraged reaction to this left me chuckling.
After this point, the episode moves into its main plot, as Twilight becomes suspicious of Yor, wondering if she knows Yuri works for the Secret Police, leading to him bugging her.
Meanwhile, Yor is worried that Twilight sees her as a disappointing wife.
Anya picks up on both of these things with her mind reading and tells them they need to get along, before hopping on the school bus, leaving her parents to go about their activities, Yor at work, and Twilight spying on his wife.
Before the episode goes further into this plotline, however, we get the conclusion to this part of Yuri’s story, as his boss further pushes him towards eventually finding and capturing Twilight, Yuri not realising that Loid Forger is the spy himself.
We also get a look inside Yuri’s locker during this scene and surprise, surprise, it’s full of pictures of Yor.
You have to wonder what his colleagues think of his creepy obsession?
Well, he’s clearly a good agent, so they probably don’t care too much so long as he gets the job done.
Cutting back to the main storyline of the episode with Twilight and Yor, Twilight listens in to Yor’s conversations at work and hears her fretting over her lack of cooking skills, worried that this makes her a bad wife.
However, Twilight is still not completley satisfied that this clears her, so he concocts a scheme with Franky, disguising themselves as Yuri’s bosses to interrogate Yor, thinking she will name Yuri as a member of the Secret Police to help herself, proving to Twilight that she knew about him.
Instead, Yor proves herself to Twilight as both innocent and strong, figuratively and literally on the latter, as she is figuratively strong by speaking up for her family, and literally strong with how she easily beats Franky when he tries to take her with them.
This leads to Twilight calling the scheme off, allowing Yor to go and rightly feeling quite guilty for his actions, which Franky calls him out on, saying he should not develop feelings for Yor because it could endanger his mission.
Twilight retaliates by ripping off Franky’s mask, ruining his chances of picking up women with it.
As Franky mourns the lost oppurtunities, Twilight tells him that it is a terrible idea to date a woman while deceiving her, a hilariously hypocritical statement from him.
Twilight then meets up with Yor and removes the bug, before cheering her up, saying she should be confident with herself.
He then suggests they get a cake for their one-year wedding anniversary.
Time sure has flown for them, huh?
The episode then ends when Anya arrives home and is overjoyed to learn her parents are getting along again after reading their minds.
All in all, “Show Off How in Love You Are” is another really good episode of Spy x Family. 
Once again, my only criticism of it is how deep Yuri’s obsession goes for Yor.
Otherwise, it’s quite an enjoyable episode, with some wholesome moments and good humor, mostly with Anya’s reactions and the slap pay-off to the kiss cliffhanger.

Spy x Family, Episode Eight, The Counter-Secret Police Cover Operation, Review: Will They or Won’t They?

Following the last episode’s cliffhanger of Yor’s brother Yuri learning of his sister’s marriage, Episode Eight of Spy x Family, “The Counter-Secret Police Cover Operation” depicts the humorous fallout.
Directed by Yukiko Imai, the episode begins with a brief look at Anya’s schooling, which predictably is not going all that well, as she bombs the answer to a question so hard it leaves everyone staring at her.
Naturally, we then cut to Twilight lying to his Handler about how long it should take Anya to be an Imperial Scholar, something the Handler picks up on pretty quickly.
This all leads to her telling him that one on their agents at Yor’s work, Jim Hayward, has been captured by the State Security Service, which is then shown happening.
These three scenes all flow togethor nicely, going from Anya failing at school, to Twilight lying about her grades, to Hayward being captured after the Handler talks about him.
It gets even better with Yor’s introduction this episode as, after witnessing Hayward being taken away, she and her colleagues talk about Yuri, who plans to drop by the Forger household, while also introducing his quite frankly weird obsession with his sister, before cutting to Hayward being interrogated.
This all builds to the reveal of Yuri as a State Security Service agent, with him interrogating Hayward after his superiors get nothing out of him.
How does Yuri begin this expert interrogation?
Why, by talking about his sister, of course!
It’s a running theme with him and an honestly uncomfortable one.
Although, it’s thankfully mostly played for humor rather than completley serious, at least in this episode.
This interrogation also goes to show Yuri’s darker side, with him appearing to be cheerful when it begins, only for him to turn violent when he proves Hayward’s guilt and states his devotion to protecting the country his sister lives in.
Cue another great cut, as the scene transitions from Yuri pretty much saying that he will resort to any torture to meet his goal, to Anya watching her favourite cartoon, where Bondman refuses to submit to torture.
This leads to Twilight realising Anya can learn how to study when she views it through the lens of her cartoons, before Yor runs in to warn them of Yuri’s eventual visit.
Thankfully, Twilight is able to make the room look more lovey-dovey before Yuri’s arrival, leading to a repeat of Anya assuming they are flirting, which both of her parents vehemently deny again.
Yuri arrives not long after Anya falls asleep, carrying a ridiculously large bouquet of flowers, ready to test if Twilight is good enough for his sister.
What follows is various comedic moments as Twilight and Yuri act as though they are getting along around Yor, while their inner monologues highlight their suspicions of one another,  with Twilight eventually deducing that Yuri is with the Secret Police.
Before this moment, however, Yuri understandably asks for an explanation as to why Yor would not tell him about her marriage for an entire year.
So, what with Yor being an expert assassin, she surely has a great lie ready to go, right?
Well, not exactly because her explanation is that she forgot to tell Yuri and then she forgot that she forgot to.
Twilight is understandably baffled by explanation but even more baffled that Yuri beleives it.
The narrator then notes that when it comes to his sister, Yuri’s “sense of logic goes out the window.”
Is this funny?
Is this creepy?
Also yes!
Thankfully, as I said earlier, Yuri’s obsession with Yor is treated comedically rather than seriously so that does help somewhat.
This also does lead into the funniest moment of the episode, when we see a flashback of a young Yor returning to take care of a child Yuri, sometime after their parents’ deaths.
The reason this is the funniest scene in the episode is because Yor is covered in blood when she does this, definitley having killed someone as part of her assasination job, and does not even bother to clean up when going to take care of her kid brother.
Cutting back to the present, Yuri’s expanation of why he cares for Yor so much leads to him getting more and more agitated, to the point that he actually knocks over a glass.
When Yor and Twilight attempt to clean it up, their hands touch, causing them to flinch back, naturally tipping off Yuri’s investigative skills, as he becomes suspicious, since any married couple would not be afraid to touch hands.
Therefore, in order to prove their marriage, he demands that they kiss in front of him.
And so, Twilight leans in to kiss a mortified Yor, ending the episode on the cliffhanger of whether our main couple will actually kiss.
Overall, “The Counter-Secret Police Cover Operation” is another good episode of Spy x Family. 
My only criticism of it is that I wish Yuri was merely overprotective of Yor and not have this obsession he clearly has with her, since it is quite creepy.
Otherwise, the episode is pretty good, with the way scenes flow togethor being especially well done.

Vampire in the Garden Review: Unfortunately Short.

I still remember searching for upcoming anime a few months ago and being interested by the description for Vampire in the Garden.
Developed by Wit Studio, released on Netflix and directed by Ryōtarō Makihara, the story is set in a winter wasteland where vampires and humans have been at war for an unknown period of time.
Some of the remaining remnants of humanity have fled to a city, protected by a tower that generates UV Light to ward off the vampires.
Living inside this city is a young girl named Momo (Megumi Han), the daughter of one of the city’s generals. 
She is tired of the fighting and wants to learn music, something which was outlawed because of its connection to the vampires.

Then, during an attack on the city, Momo has a chance encounter with the Vampire Queen Fine (Yu Kobayashi), someone who is also tired of the fighting and treasures music.
Together, the two decide to try and find a supposed paradise where humans and vampires live in harmony and make music together.

Momo and Fine’s chance encounter begins their journey.

This premise intrigued me when I first read it and I decided to give the anime a shot, thinking that it would probably have a similar episode count to Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, another anime that Wit Studio produced which I loved.
So, I was quite surprised when I saw that there were only five episodes released by Netflix.
At first, I thought it must be some kind of error and that Netflix would release the other episodes once they realized the mistake.
But, no, Vampire in the Garden really is only five episodes long and this is its biggest fault.
Now, I still really enjoyed my time with this anime but I feel like it had the potential for so much more, if only it had been given more episodes. 

I wish Wit Studio had given Vampire in the Garden the ten to thirteen episode treatment.

There are just too many characters and ideas here for the vision of this anime to be fully realized in such a short amount of time.
That said, I do think that Vampire in the Garden did the best it could have done with only five episodes, which is a testament to the writing quality.
For one thing, I liked all of the characters in this anime.
Momo and Fine’s growing bond is interesting throughout, I quite enjoyed the resolution to Momo’s relationship with her mother (Rika Fukami), and the vague way that the anime filled in the backstory of Kubo (Hiroki Toshi), giving us just enough information to put the pieces together, felt like the writers were respecting the audience.
Another feature of the anime I have to give props to is the world building.
Momo and Fine visit various different kinds of communities, all of which have different ways that humans and vampires interact with each other, which are interesting to compare.

The exploration of the different dynamics between humans and vampires in various dystopian cities was excellent world building.

The animation and music are also quite good, something to be expected of an anime made by Wit Studio.
I will also admit that, despite me being critical of there only being five episodes, this short run time does mean you can finish Vampire in the Garden rather quickly, as if it were a movie rather than a show, so that is an advantage it has.
As for other criticisms, there are a few moments in the anime that broke my suspension of disbelief temporarily by being too convenient or having a character survive something that should have been impossible to.

It’s strange moments like this one that temporarily broke my immersion.

Also, I did find the story to be a bit predictable at times, especially with one character’s ending, although it being predictable did not make it bad. 
These are just minor criticisms.
The only major one I have is, again, the episode count.
The anime had the potential to be fantastic but the short runtime limits it.
I’m actually hoping we get a manga adaptation at some point because that could extend the story, thus expanding upon the characters, world and themes, allowing Vampire in the Garden to reach its potential.
As it stands, though, I would still recommend the show.
It’s a short watch and delivers some pretty interesting character work and world building.    

Spy x Family, Episode Four, The Prestigious School’s Interview Review: An Elegant Episode.

After the previous episode of Spy x Family dabbled in some anime original moments, the series is back to solely adapting the manga in its fourth episode, “The Prestigious School’s Interview.”
Directed by Kento Matsui, this episode begins with a characteristically humorous moment of the Forger family preparing for the interview at Eden College, with Twilight acting like a military general prepping his soldiers.
Although funny, this also turns out to be necessary because the College instructors are monitering all of the child applicants and their parents as they enter the grounds, failing any potential student for so little as lacking refinement.
The architect of this passing requirement seems to be one of the House Masters named Henry Henderson, a man obsessed with elegance.
Thankfully for Twilight, he apprears to have taught Yor and Anya well in elegance, as they all pay respect to the college’s founder, although Yor has no idea who the man is and Anya just thinks of him as a bald man.
Although impressed by this display, Henderson is suspicious of Anya’s low test score and her appalling handwriting, wondering if the Forgers could be an impromptu family, deciding to test them futher.
This first test comes in the form of a student faking being stuck in a gutter, to which Twilight responds by pulling him out, getting his clothing dirty.
Henderson is unimpressed, until Twilight reveals he brought spare clothing in preperation for such an event.
However, further testing is interrupted by an actual accident, when the farm animals escape, causing Yor to leap forward and pacify the leader of the stampeding herd, stunning Twilight, Anya, and especially Henderson, who seems to be having an elegance hemorrhage.
He runs out to thank the Forgers for their efforts, seeming to have grown a little as well, since he now gives them the time to go and change their clothes, only to be a little frightened when Twilight reveals they brought a third pair of clothing with them in preperation.
Then comes the actual interview with the House Masters, Henderson, the kind Malcolm Hall, and the vile Murdoch Swan, a man who berates the child applicants and their parents because of his own family troubles.
Despite Swan’s efforts to undermine the family, the Forgers do well, quite hilariously at times, like the moment when Twilight thinks Anya has screwed up only for Henderson to be blown away by what he views as her dedication.
The interview even turns wholesome when Anya scores her new parents a perfect 100 points, declaring she wants to be with them forever.
Of course, Swan has to ruin this moment by trying to force Anya to compare Yor to her previous mother, causing Anya to cry and Twilight to almost blow the interview by leaping at Swan in a rage, covering this up by smashing a mosquito… along with the table.
Twilight then leaves with his family, stating the perfect insult to Swan, “If making light of a child’s feelings is part of you establishment’s educational policies, then I’m afraid we have chosen the wrong school.”
This also strikes a cord with Henderson, who elegantly decks Swan for his actions.
It is nice to see how Henderson grew throughout his introduction, initially seeming to be as cruel as Swan, only for the Forgers to make him realize what being an educator is about.
Back at the Forger household, things are looking grim, as Twilight believes they have little hope of passing the interview and Anya is distraught at the thought of losing her new family.
However, the family quickly put these bad thoughts aside to focus on the positives, like Henderson and Hall looking out for them, with Twilight also growing as a person, since trusting in someone else is not something he would do in his regular line of work as a spy.
Yet, their family photo does fall at the end, so that’s a bad sign.
Overall, “The Prestigous School’s Interview” is another great episode of Spy x Family, delivering many wholesome moments between the family, plenty of funny gags, and good development for its characters, old and new.
It is truly an elegant episode.

Spy x Family, Episode Three, Prepare for the Interview Review: A Family Ooting.

I was quite interested to see how the third episode of Spy x Family would turn out, since the preview showed there would be some anime original scenes.
Directed by Takashi Kataragi, Episode Three, “Prepare for the Interview” begins with such a scene, as Yor is welcomed to her new home by Twilight and Anya.
This is then followed up by another wholesome anime original section, as Anya shows Yor around the place, including adorable moments, like when Anya pretends to be her toy greeting Yor, and great gags, like when Yor stops Anya from touching her stash of poison.
The funniest anime original gag of the scene, though, is the two moments when Anya claims to have helped, looking for approval, only for Twilight to reveal how Anya failed to help both times, causing Anya to give some of her classic mortified faces.
Afterwards, we get back to the adaptation of the manga, with Twilight running a practice interview for Yor and Anya, which goes about as poorly as expected, especially for Yor, who equates passing the interview with the passing of her victims, much to Anya’s comedic horror.
Hoping to give the two an experience of what it is like to be a cultured family, Twilight then takes them out on what Anya calls “an ooting.”
The adorable telepath then attempts to get closer to her new mama, offering to hold Yor’s hand, only for her to read Yor’s mind and hear how she accidentally broke her brother’s ribs once because she hugged him too hard.
Cue yet another humorous horrified expression from Anya as she runs to hide, before Twilight takes them all to various cultured places.
There’s the opera, where Anya falls asleep and Yor looks rather distressed, and an art museum, where Anya yells out that she can see a woman’s boobies in a painting and Yor is excited by a painting of an execution, much to Twilight’s dismay.
The Forgers’ next two stops are the tailor and a photography shop where they get an awkward family photo, before eventually stopping at a restaurant, where Anya eats with her hands and Yor is fascinated by a knife, once again scaring Twilight into thinking he may have picked the wrong family.
Wanting to cheer Twilight up, Yor takes him and Anya to a spot overlooking the city with a great view.
This has a much more melancholic effect on Twilight, however, as he looks at a group of children playing with a sad expression on his face, a moment that may not mean much to anime only watchers but, for the readers of the most recent manga chapter, takes on a much more unfortunate meaning.
Twilight does not have time to dwell on this, however, because down below a thief steals an elderly woman’s purse and the newfound family work togethor to catch him, because what family ooting is complete without bringing a criminal to justice, am I right?
While Yor initially gives chase and then helps the elderly woman, Anya manages to find the thief by reading his mind and pointing him out to Twilight without the spy realizing it.
Twilight then takes down the thief and retrieves the elderly woman’s purse, who thanks him and Yor by agressively shaking their hands, a display which makes Twilight happy, as it is probably the first moment he has ever been thanked for his efforts, since spying is naturally a mostly thankless task.
Twilight then goes on to thank Yor for changing the pace of the day, causing the two to blush and Anya to speculate that the two are flirting, earning a shocked display from both would-be parents, who deny this wholeheartedly.
Upon arriving home, Twilight again tests Anya, which goes well at first, until Anya recalls Twilight beating up the thief he caught.
However, Twilight takes some comfort in the fact that the elderly woman they helped clearly saw him, Yor and Anya as a happy family, which is key to his mission, bringing an end to the episode with the start of the ED.
This ED is “Comedy” by Gen Hoshino, and it is just as good as the OP, presenting a pleasant feel-good vibe.
“Prepare for the Interview” is another enjoyable Spy x Family episode, with some great anime only additions, which do not feel out of place at all.
This episode also does a good job of building into the next one, with the actual interview and the introduction of a certain elegant character.

Eighty-Six Review: Fantastic Commentary on Child Soldiers.

There are many anime out there that deal with teenagers being sent to the front lines of battle.
To name a few of the ones I have seen, there is obviously Attack on Titan, and also Mobile Suit Gundamn: Iron Blooded Orphans.
However, despite there being many anime that depict this issue of child soldiers, I would argue that few handle this topic as well as Eighty-Six.

Eighty-Six deals with the ethics of teens being sent to war better than any anime I have seen.

Developed by A-1 Pictures and based off the light novel by Asato Asato, the Toshimasa Ishii directed anime begins in the Republic of San Magnolia, a country that has been at war with the Empire of Giad’s AI army, known as the Legion, for nine years.
Despite many years of war, the Republic claims to have lost none of their soldiers, due to their own mechanized, remote controlled forces.
Thing is, this is all just propaganda.
The Republic’s mechanized forces are far from remote controlled.
Their Juggernauts are actually controlled by the Colorata minority, a diverse group of people who have been stripped of all human rights by the dominant race of the Alba and forced by to fight for them, along with being forced to relocate all to the 86th District, hence the title of Eighty-Six.
With all of the Eighty-Six’s parents having been killed in the fighting, the Albans are now forcing their children to pilot their Juggernauts to fight the Legion, with Alban handlers directing them.
One of these handlers is Vladilena “Lena” Milize (Ikumi Hasegawa), who hates what has been done to the Eighty-Six, and is put in charge of the Spearhead Squadron, lead by Shinei Nouzen (Shōya Chiba), nicknamed The Undertaker.
From this point, the story unfolds, as Lena is quickly faced with the horrors the Eighty-Six have to go through on a daily basis and her own hypocrisy in how she treats them, all the while Shinei and his fellow 86 learn to deal with a handler who actually sympathizes with their plight. 

Just because Lena sympathizes with Shinei and his friends, does not mean she doesn’t dehumanizes them in their initial intercations, which is called out perfectly and creates great development for her character.

This results in numerous hard hitting moments, both on the battlefield and off, helped by the amazing animation and soundtrack by Hiroyuki Sawano and Kohta Yamamoto, all coming togethor to bring the story’s commentary on the horrors of war, nationalism, racism and child soldiers to the forefront.
Yet, there is also hopeful themes among the dark ones, which is especially apparent in the last few episodes, which were delayed due to production issues.
Despite these issues, these final few episodes were incredible, making me tear up in the penultimate episode.
Heck, even Asato Asato apparently cried at the adaptation so you know the anime did something right. 

The penultimate episode has my favourite moment of the entire series so far, making me tear up along with the characters. Everything from the animaton, to the soundtrack, to the cinematography, came togethor to create a masterpiece of a scene.

Given the quality of these last few episodes, I really have to praise A-1 Pictures because clearly everyone involved, from the animators to the director, were passionate about this story, as proven by how they delivered the last few episode with the same quality as the rest of the anime, while having production problems.
The quality was so good that now I am even more excited for a follow up, which I hope we get.
With how amazing this anime’s story, characters, themes, direction animation and score are, if it gets a follow up, it could be up there with some of the greats.

Give us more 86, please.

Of all of these great features, I have to end this review by once again praising its themes.
Of all the anime I have seen with child soldiers, Eighty-Six delivers the best commentary on that.
It even trumps Attack on Titan in this regard, since Eighty-Six actually deals with the deplorable ethics of using children in war, despite their insistance to fight.
It is a theme I hope to see expanded upon whenever we get a follow up, which should happen because there is apparently enough source material to create more.
Fingers crossed that this is what happens.  

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 27, Retrospective Review: Animation Budget Well Spent.

In my review for Episode 25 of Attack on Titan‘s Final Season, “Night of the End”, I heavily criticized the animation issues, where it was obvious Mappa was trying to save the budget by constantly focusing on walls and trees, rather than the characters’ faces.
However, through this criticism, I pointed out that this could ultimately result in future episodes looking much better, especially episodes 27 and 28.
Well, after watching Episode 27, “Retrospective”, I am happy to see that this suspision was proven correct.
Directed by Jun Shishido, this episode is a phenominal adaption of Chapter 129, delivering some of the best animation Mappa has gifted us with in Attack on Titan so far.
It begins with the aftermath of Connie having to shoot Samuel and Daz to protect both Armin and the flying boat.
The two are clearly traumatised from this but have little time to focus on it because the fight with the Jeagerists is still ongoing, as Reiner and Annie continue to do battle in their Titan forms.
Meanwhile, on the basement steps in one of the buildings, Hange, Jean, and Magath are informed by the flying boat’s engineers that it will take half a day to service it for flight, time they do not have because Jeagerist reinforcements will be arriving soon.
More than that, Hange realizes that even by the time the flying boat is ready, Liberio will have been destroyed, with millions probably already dead.
Jean, in particular, is horrified by this, remembering himself and Connie getting drunk togethor with an old man in a flashback the anime has not revealed yet but hopefully will soon.
It is at this moment of hopelessness, that Kiyomi suggests using a ship to take the flying boat to the port city of Odiha, where they might just have enough time to service the flying boat before the Rumbling arrives.
Kiyomi admits that this is a gamble but this seems to spur Hange on, potentially reminding her of Erwin, and she goes to warn Mikasa who then warns Annie.
There is a moment of internal dialogue from Annie that is cut here, where she wonders if she will still be able to find her father, but this is not too important of a cut considering what happens at the end of the episode.
As the fight continues, Magath leads Kiyomi and the flying boats’ engineers towards the ship that will take them out of the port, leading to Reiner and Annie having to defend them from Jaegerist bullets and thunder spears, with Reiner even taking some of the hits for Annie.
Realizing that the alliance is trying to take the flying boat away on a ship to stop Eren, Floch rallies his troops, telling them that if they don’t stop the alliance then the world will take revenge on Paradis, killing all of them and their families.
This logic is hard to argue with, even though the Rumbling is a morally horrible thing, making it understandable why the Jeagerists are fighting so hard.
After Floch’s speech, we cut to Pieck carrying Levi, Gabi, Falco, Yelena and Onyankopon to the ship.
Seeing how battered Annie and Reiner are getting by the thunder spears, Falco runs in, deciding to transform into the Jaw Titan, since if Galliard were alive then he would not just sit on the sidelines.
Before Pieck can reach the ship, Magath gets there first and orders the engineers to get the ship running, before carrying an injured Armin onboard, allowing Connie to go and fight.
The alliance’s efforts may have been for nothing, however, if a train carrying Jeagerist reinforcements had arrived.
Luckily for them, it is destroyed before it can reach the port, most likely by a thunder spear.
We then get the first excellent tracking shot of the episode, as Connie flies in to save Annie and Reiner, taking out multiple Jaegerists, with Mikasa and Jean aiding him.
It is here that we get another change from the manga, with the changing of Mikasa and Jean’s internal monologue.
In the manga, their line was, “hesitate and your comrades die.”
In the anime, it’s, “hesitate and we’ll never stop the Rumbling.”
Personally, I like this change because they are killing former comrades in this battle, even if it is to save the world, so I think the “stop the Rumbling” line works better.
The fight only gets worse for the Jeagerists as Pieck and Falco get involved, with Falco transforming into the Jaw Titan for the first time, looking absolutley incredible.
I think his Jaw Titan looked a little off at times in the manga, with it seemingly changing appearance between panels, but in this episode his design is consistant and excellently animated.
As someone who likes freckled Ymir’s character, I also quite enjoyed how Falco’s first transformation in the anime seems to mirror hers all the way back in Season Two.
With the Jeagerists now breaking formation, we get our second excellent tracking shot of the episode, with Floch fighting through Falco, Hange and Pieck to get in range to shoot the ship.
Along with looking incredible, this moment is once again different from the manga where Floch actually looks quite pathetic as he screams when Pieck lunges at him.
In the anime, however, he looks nothing but determined to complete his goal.
Say what you will about Floch as a person but he has had quite the character arc going from a cowardly soldier to one willing to take on multiple Titan Shifters to protect Paradis Island.
Unfortunately for him, it does not end well, as Gabi shoots him in the shoulder, causing him to miss the ship and fall into the sea.
As the Jeagerists’ react to Floch’s fall, they notice something horrifying: Mikasa cutting through multiple people, brutally decapitating one of them and stabbing another through an already dead body.
This is another anime only moment but, unlike the others, it is not one I like, specifically because of what Mikasa does after she kills these Jeagerists.
Does she fly off to continue the fight?
Well, yes, but before that she makes sure to activate an already dead Jeagerist’s thunder spear, exploding their corpses and showering her in their blood.
Is this brutal visual cool?
Does it make Mikasa look unnecessarily sadistic in this moment?
Also yep.
Seriously, these soldiers were no threat to her, already being dead, and, more than that, they used to be her comrades, before Mikasa had to fight them to save the world.
It’s even more jarring when you look at the previous episode and see how reluctant Mikasa was to kill her former allies.
How did she go from that to being all gung-ho about blowing up their bodies for no reason?
Much like the Louise scene from “Pride”, it just makes her seem uncharacteristically cruel.
It would have been really easy to fix this as well.
Just have the Jeagerists be about to attack her when she activates the thunder spear, which then kills these attacking Jeagerists.
That way, her activating the thunder spear is an act of self defence, rather than unnecessary brutaility.
While I’m on the subject of issues, I will mention one more that I had, this being plot armour.
This was not a complaint I had when reading the manga because I thought not many of the alliance dying in the port battle made sense, since they have numerous Titan Shifters and some of the most skilled Scouts on their side.
Watching the anime, though, did make the plot armour quite noticable.
There are a few times where bullets and thunder spears should have logically hit characters and the ship.
Still, if that did happen then we would not have a means to get to Eren so it is acceptable.
Back to praising the episode, the Jeagerists all flee upon seeing how many of their comrades are being killed, only for Falco to attack the alliance, being crazed from his first transformation, just like Eren was in Season One.
This leads Magath to cut him free from his Titan, the process of which we actually see him do, unlike in the manga which just cuts to him freeing Falco, so this is a good change.
The alliance then lead their injured members to the ship, which departs for Odiha.
However, Magath stays behind to blow up a Marleyan ship that the Jeagerists could use to follow them.
He is ambushed by two Jeagerists, who are then taken out by none other Keith Shadis, wearing his old Survey Corps uniform.
It was he who Annie saw watching over them in “Pride”.
Moved by his students’ goal to save the world, he has decided to aid them, blowing up the train of Jeagerist reinforcements.
He and Magath then run into the ship, preparing to blow it up with themselves as the Jeagerists board.
Magath says that because of Shadis’ actions he will be remembered as a hero who helped save the world, showing that Shadis was no longer a bystander in the end.
What is truly tragic, though, is that the rest of the world may not actually know this, since no one was there to see Shadis help Magath.
In turn, Shadis says Magath will also be revered as hero for his sacrifice, however the Marleyan general refuses to feel proud of himself, acknowledging his own crimes and stating how he wishes he had allowed the Eldian children he trained to live normal lives.
Shadis consoles him, saying those children would be proud of his actions now, handing him the rifle to blow up the gunpowder while the Jeagerists converge on their location.
The two share names, becoming friends in their final moments as they blow up the ship, sacrificing themselves to ensure the Jeagerists cannot follow the Alliance in a scene that is silent, except for the sombre music.
Shadis and Magath’s sacrifice is one of my favourite deaths in all of Attack on Titan and I think the anime adapted it flawlessly.
The episode is not over yet, however, because we also get an after credits scene, which is the opening scene of Chapter 130, where Annie learns that the alliance cannot save Liberio from the Rumbling, meaning that her father is most likely dead.
Hange tries to convince Annie to continue with them to save billions of people they will probably never know but Annie refuses, no longer having any will to fight without her father and confessing to Mikasa that she doesn’t want to have to fight them or Eren.
This brings an end to “Retrospective”, one of the best episodes of the final season’s second half.
Aside from a few gripes, this is a flawless adaptation of Chapter 129, in my opinion, delivering the sacrifice of Shadis and Magath excellently.
With how well animated this episode was, I am even more excited for the final episode of Season Four Part 2, which will air in the next few weeks.
However, this will certainly not be the end for the Attack on Titan anime because there is a lot more story to give.
So, it will be interesting to see if a movie or Final Season Part 3 will be announced after Episode 28.

Manga Spoilers:
One thing that intrigued me about this episode was how the opening scene of Chapter 130 was adapted at the end.
For the past six episodes, Mappa has mostly been adapting a single chapter per episode and it looks like this will continue with the next episode titled, “The Dawn of Humanity.”
However, given how short Chapter 130 actually is, due to the paneling, it makes me wonder if there will be enough content to adapt it all into a single episode without a lot of extra time.
Granted, I did suspect this would happen with Chapter 128’s adaptation and I was wrong about that, so I could also be wrong about this.
If I am not, though, that leaves the question of what Mappa will use to fill in that extra runtime?
It could add some parts of the following chapter “Rumbling” but I don’t think that would work since that is the chapter that features Ramzi’s brutal death and we have not seen the flashback introducing him yet.
This is why I think the next episode may start off by having that so far missing flashback where the scouts infiltrate Marley and party with Ramzi’s family, having their last moment of happiness togethor.
Not only would this be a good way to begin the final episode of Part Two for the Final Season but it would also be good to include because the Eremika scene from Chapter 123 would go nicely with the one from Chapter 130, where Zeke explains Mikasa’s feelings to Eren.
This moment appears to be shown in the preview for the next episode.
Since I think Eren’s feelings for Mikasa were considerably rushed in the manga, having the Chapter 123 flashback and Zeke’s talks with Eren scenes togethor would make the reveal of his feelings for her a lot better, I think.
No matter what we get, though, I am excited to see the adaptation of Chapter 130 and how exactly this story will continue.

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 26, Traitor Review: I Stand Corrected.

In my review for Episode 24 of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Pride”, I talked about the announcement that the remaining four episodes would all only cover a single episode.
I expressed concern about this decision because I felt that most of these episodes, most notably Episode 26, “Traitor”, would suffer from pacing issues and need a bit of recap and filler.
Well, after watching “Traitor”, I can say that I was definitley wrong about that.
Directed by Teruyuki Ōmine, “Traitor” is a definite improvement on the previous episode, with the animation being much better, a few rare instances aside.
I speculated in my review for “Night of the End” that the reason the animation focused constantly on walls and trees was because they were trying to save the budget for the last three episodes and, given how good some of this episode looked, I can say that this budget is being put to good use.
“Traitor” begins with Hange and Floch overlooking the port, which the Jeagerists, lead by Floch, have taken over and taken Kiyomi Azumabito hostage.
Magath wonders why the Jeagerists have not yet destroyed the flying boat, which they could use to reach Eren, and Hange speculates that it is because they still want its technology.
Yet, if they see any sign of the alliance, they will destroy the flying boat so alliance need to do whatever it takes to protect it.
It is at that moment when Hange notices smoke rising from the water, showing that the Wall Titans have swam all the way to Marley.
Now, I will say that the animation for the smoke felt a little stilted because I could not even tell it was Titan smoke until Hange pointed it out.
This is just a minor issue, however.
Once the opening is over, the scene then cuts to the rest of the alliance, who are preparing for a confrontation at the port, with Annie saying they have to kill all of the Jeagerists to secure the flying boat.
Armin, Mikasa Jean and Connie are understandably reluctant, seeing as they know many of the Jeagerists personally, wanting to find another way.
However, both Annie and Pieck point out that there is no other way, since they need the Azumabito’s mechanics to repair the plane so Onyankopon can fly it, which they will not have time to do with the Jeagerists approaching.
Eventually, though, Annie relents, confessing that the 104th have no reason to help them, yet are doing so, suggesting that they would not have destroyed the wall that day.
This causes Reiner to realize exactly what Eren meant when he told him that they were the same, leading to him offering to take care of the Jeagerists with Annie and Pieck while the 104th hold back.
Hange is not having this though, revealing that the steam in the water she saw means that the Rumbling has already reached Marley, Eren’s genocide having already begun.
Desperate, Magath attacks Yelena, breaking her arm and demanding that she tells them where Eren went, only for Yelena to instead declare that she no longer wants to die until she sees how this ends, stating she might tell them where Eren is if they take her with them.
Magath then bows his head to Mikasa, Armin, Jean and Connie, apologising to them for speaking about justice the night before, now admitting his own sins and declaring that they have to teach future generations to avoid this bloodshed.
This is an impactful moment of growth for Magath, although this impact is lessened slightly by one wide shot where Magath’s face is all scrunched up in a weird case of animation.
The effect of his speech is still the same, however, as Armin refuses to look past Magath’s actions, stating that they cannot stand by with clean hands.
Afterwards, the scene transitions to Floch lecturing Kiyomi about how the Rumbling will result in the absolute destruction of her homeland, Hizuru, saying she and her mechanics should just devote themselves to helping Eldia.
The shot then cuts to some Jeagerists dragging out the dead bodies of Kiyomi’s guards, showing the threat in Floch’s words.
Kiyomi, however, is not intimidated, instead pointing out that the Rumbling will just make humanity smaller and violence will always continue.
Floch admits she has a point but then turns this on her, saying that it is for that reason she has to remember her place, putting a gun to her head.
Before he can do anything, Floch is interrupted by Armin and Connie’s shouts, the two rushing into the port on horseback, acting as if they are chasing Reiner and Pieck, shouting that they need the flying boat to be set up so they can catch them.
This causes enough confusion to allow the two of them to reach the flying boat, where they find Samuel and Daz preparing to blow it up.
For those who do not recognize them, these are both Season One characters, Samuel being the one who Sasha saved when the Colossal Titan attacked by impaling his leg with her ODM Gear, and Daz being the scared soldier who considered deserting and was revealed to have been saved by Historia and Ymir in a flashback.
One thing I was kind of disappointed by was that the anime did not build up to these two’s reappearance this episode with some new scenes.
Them showing up again after so long just to die was a bit abrupt in the manga, even if it served its purpose, so I was hoping the Final Season would add a couple scenes to re-estblish them, creating a bigger impact when Connie has to kill them at the end of the episode.
Nothing huge because, again, they only come back to die, but I think a few extra scenes or lines for them prior to this episode could have helped, like that anime only moment of Louise getting fatally injured by the Thunder Spear rather than just showing her on her deathbed.
Either way, the scene between Armin and Connie, and Samuel and Daz plays out the same as it does in the manga, with Armin and Connie managing to convince the two of them that they are not trying to stop the Rumbling because it would doom their island.
That said, I do wish the alliance had some kind of back up plan for if they stop Rumbling.
I know it’s a complicated situation but them just winging it seems quite foolhardy, considering that the rest of the world seems to unanimously want them all dead.
Even though Daz disconnects the detonator, him and Samuel quickly realize how terrible Armin and Connie’s poker faces are.
What makes the situation worse is that Floch decides it would better not to take chances, so aims his gun at one of the Hizuru mechanics, only for Kiyomi to take him down with ease, causing shots to go off.
While it is a bit weird for such an older woman to take down a trained soldier so quickly, I suppose it could be explained by Kiyomi having some training in case of assasination attempts since she’s a political figure.
Make no mistake, though, Kiyomi would have been doomed had it not been for Mikasa, who crashes through a window and takes out the attacking Jeagerists, leading Kiyomi and her mechanics towards the basement, along with Hange, Jean and Magath to take cover, as the Jeagerists shoot Thunder Spears.
With the group now in the basement, it gives space for Reiner and Annie to attack the Jeagerists freely, transforming behind Floch with some spectacular animation.
This seems to further validate my theory that the animation for “Night of the End” was purposefully limited to save the budget to animate the action scenes of “Traitor” and the following final two episodes.
Although, I will say that the Female Titan CGI looks a little off, compared to the rest of it.
Cutting back to Connie and Armin, Armin is shot in the face by Samuel when he tries to stop Daz from reconnecting the detonator to blow up the flying boat, and Connie tackles Samuel when he is distracted by Reiner and Annie transforming, the two wrestling for the gun.
Armin again attempts to stop Daz, and I must say I was quite surprised with how little censorship there was surrounding Armin’s injuries.
I expected it to be covered with Titan steam and, while there is some, the gory image of Armin’s unhinged jaw and missing teeth is still intact.
As Daz holds a gun to Armin’s head, and Samuel cries out that he thought he and Connie were friends, Armin remembers Bertholdt saying someone has to stain their hands with blood, showing how they are all now on the same level.
Connie then rips the gun from Samuel’s hands, using it to kill both him and Daz, before screaming out in the agony of his guilt.
This scream is entirely anime only and was a perfect touch to the scene, in my opinion, really emphasizing the trauma this act has inflicted on Connie.
To be honest, Connie is a character who I have never really cared for that greatly.
I certainly don’t dislike him but, compared to the rest of the main cast, he falls short in my mind.
Yet, I have always found this scene to be Connie’s defining moment as a character.
The moment that he truly stands out, and I think the anime depicted this scene perfectly.
It makes me even more excited for how Chapter 129 will be adapted next episode, which is another one of my favourite alliance chapters, alongside Chapter 127.
Let’s just hope it is animated better than Episode 25, although I think it will be based on the animation quality of this episode.
“Traitor” is a solid episode of Attack on Titan and I stand corrected in regards to the concerns I had going in.

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 25, Night of the End Review: The Weakest Adaptation.

I was quite excited coming into Episode 25 of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Night of the End.”
The reason for this is that I consider the chapter the episode adapts, Chapter 127, to be one of the best alliance chapters.
It certainly leaves a better impression after the weak coming togethor of the alliance in the previous episode.
So, imagine my disappointment when I saw the clear animation issues in “Night of the End.”
It was blantly obvious when watching this episode that there were problems with the budget, resulting in what I think is unfortunately one of the weakest adaptations of a chapter in the entire anime.
Directed by Mitsue Yamazaki, “Night of the End” begins with Jean imagining his future in a post Rumbling world, where he is married to a woman who appears to be Mikasa and has a child with her.
This high life in the interior with a family has been Jean’s dream from the beginning, however, he is naturally dragged away from it by his morals when Hange shows up and calls him outside to meet her and Mikasa.
Taking refuge in an abandoned house, Hange announces to Jean and Mikasa that she has joined up with the remaining Marleyans to stop Eren, asking for their support.
Mikasa is quick to agree, not wanting Eren to massacre the billions of people outside the walls, yet Jean is more cautious, understandably pointing out that if they stop Eren then the rest of the world will most likely destroy them.
This all leads to Hange recalling her dead comrades in a similar way to how Erwin did in the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
Here, Hange implies that characters like Erwin and Miche would have been against the Rumbling, a subject that still inspires debate among manga readers, even after the ending.
Whatever your thoughts are on this implication, though, the effect Hange’s words have on Jean is clear, as he also imagines seeing Marco looking at him with a reassuring look, convincing him to take a moral stance rather than a logical one.
This is who Jean is.
When push comes to shove, he has always put his own morals first, even if it impedes his goals of earning a nice life for himself.
He is such a great character and his development in this episode only gets better, which is why it is such a shame that the impact this beginning scene could have had is watered down significantly by the animation issues.
Instead of focusing on Jean, Hange and Mikasa’s expressions as they discuss stopping Eren, the shots focus on the walls and windows.
It is quite clear that they are trying to save the budget for future episodes, which is understandable, but it comes at the expence of this episode.
Once this scene is over, we then cut to the main focus of “Night of the End”, which is the campfire talks and arguments between the Scouts and the Warriors.
If you thought that there was not enough conflict during the formation of the alliance last episode, like I did, then this episode alleviates some of these issues by giving us that conflict.
It begins with Magath, who states that the Scouts have finally learned which side is standing for justice, an absurd statement given all that he has done, which Jean rightfully calls him out on, pointing out that if they had never attacked then Eren never would have started the Rumbling because his mother would not have been killed.
Hange eventually puts an end to this back and forth argument, only for Annie to ask an important question: can they kill Eren?
When Armin suggests talking to Eren first, this leads to Annie stating that if she or any of the other Warriors try to kill Eren, then they will just try to stop them, especially Mikasa.
Mikasa takes this as a threat, advancing towards Annie.
Although, advancing is probably the wrong word here.
In the manga she advances on Annie, here she just draws her sword because, again, it really feels like there were some budgetary issues at play.
To be fair, though, this is certainly not as bad as the other animation issues, it’s more of a minor thing.
The impact of this moment is still there, with Annie and Mikasa eventually coming to an understanding, as Annie explains she just wants to save her father and if Eren can be convinced to stop then it will be fine by her.
The reason this impact still holds is because we get clear shots of both of these characters’ faces while their conflict is playing out, which unfortunately cannot be said for the next scene, where Magath asks Yelena where Eren is.
What do we focus on this time?
An important discussion about the location of the protaganist turned antagonist is happening and we’re focusing on random trees instead of the characters we are following.
Thankfully, the shots quickly cut back to the characters when Yelena is called out for secretly being a Marleyan by Pieck, leading Yelena to calling out everyone at the campfire for their prior crimes.
Jean hits back by sarcastically mocking her, acting as though she said all of this just to clear the air.
This was a mistake on his part, though, because Yelena is certainly vindictive, using Jean’s sarcasm as an oppurtunity to create more conflict by bringing up Marco’s death, leading to Reiner finally revealing to Jean what really happened to his friend… while the shots focus on the trees once more.
Again, we should be focusing on the characters’ inner turmoil through their facial expressions, not random bits of the environment that have no meaning.
Oh, I have heard some state that the extensive focus on the trees was actually symbolism for the escaping the forest theme but this theory rings hollow for me.
If the shots of the trees were quick and we spent most of the time on the characters, I could buy it.
What I can’t buy is the person who storyboarded the episode deciding to mostly focus on trees during an entire complex conversation for the sake of symbolism that would have only taken a few shots to convey.
Not to mention that the random shots of the wall in the opening scene undermine this.
If the trees were supposed to convey the escaping the forest theme, then what the heck was the point of the wall and window shots, that the characters were confined but had a window out or something?
Thankfully, we actually focus on the characters when Jean snaps and attacks Reiner after he expresses his guilt for killing Marco and aplogizes.
I can also praise this scene for how well Jean’s beatdown of Reiner is animated.
What stops Jean from beating Reiner further is Gabi, who jumps in front of one of his kicks, before she and Falco beg Jean and the rest of the 104th to help them stop the Rumbling, as Gabi profusely apologises for her prior hatred of them, completing her redemption arc in my mind.
Jean is still understandably conflicted and marches off, while Levi sits up and complains that the group is being too noisy.
While this is a good gag, I am disappointed that we did not see Levi call Annie out for killing his Squad all the way back in the Female Titan Arc.
I’m not saying he would deliberately endanger the mission to get revenge on her but I think he should have at least mentioned Petra’s father coming to him after Annie killed her.
This could have lead to some interesting development for Annie, who is trying to get back to her father and is now forced to contemplate how many parents she robbed of ever seeing their children again.
It could have been a fantastic moment of self reflection for her and I think it was a real missed oppurtunity.
What is not a missed oppurtunity, however, is Magath’s development because, despite showing his Marleyan racism earlier in the episode, he now reaches out to comfort Gabi, before pulling back as he realizes what he is doing, the conflict in him clear.
Where this conflict goes I will not spoil but I am looking forward to it.
The next morning Gabi is awoken by Jean who says he will still help them stop the Rumbling, once again proving himself as a moral person, before he humorously yanks Reiner awake, stating that his injuries should have healed by now.
Jean is definitley the highlight of this episode.
Following this, the alliance head off to the port to try and find Kiyomi Azumabito’s plane, which they hope will help them reach Eren.
During this time, Jean apologizes to Gabi for kicking her but tells Reiner he will not be getting an apology to which Reiner accepts.
However, there is a cut here that quite damages this scene, in my opinion.
This is the following line from the manga where Jean says he cannot forgive Reiner, to which he also accepts.
Annie then interjects by asking if she could ever be forgiven.
The forgiveness lines are cut from the anime, so when Annie asks “and me?” it appears that she is asking Jean if he will apologize to her, to which I say, “for what?”
Annie was rightfully called out for her part to play in Marco’s murder.
She is the one who should be apologising, not Jean.
The anime really damaged this moment because it makes Annie look uncaring and selfish, rather than seeking forgiveness for Marco’s death.
Unfortunately, this is not the only cut scene that involves Annie because, when Reiner is beat unconcious by Jean, we see Annie caring for him in the manga but not in the anime.
This is not a huge detail but it was a nice moment of showing Annie’s sympathy and I wish it was kept.
Back to the final scene, as the alliance approach the port, Pieck arrives to announce that the Jeagerists have taken control of it, and we see that Kiyomi is a hostage of Floch, bringing an end to the episode.
Overall, despite having better writing than the previous episode, I would still say that “Night of the End” is one of the weakest adaptations of the manga because of the obvious animation issues that plague it, such as randomly focusing on walls, windows and trees.
Having seen the quality of the animation for Episode 26 “Traitor”, I understand that the animation for certain scenes in “Night of the End” had to be so limited in order to make the action scenes of the coming episodes look better, most likely due to budgetary problems.
Still, it is disappointing to me that the anime adaptation of one of my favourite alliance chapters is so watered down.
I’m not saying it’s a bad episode but it is definitley disappointing.
The writing is still top notch, though, with Jean’s character arc being a standout, proving why he is one of Attack on Titan‘s best characters.

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 24, Pride Review: One of the Weakest Chapters Becomes One of the Weakest Episodes.

Coming into Episode 24 of Attack on Titan’s Final Season, “Pride”, directed by Kazuo Miyake I was very interested to see what the anime only viewers’ reaction to it would be.
This is because “Pride” is one of the most controversial chapters in the entire manga, being so divisive that it caused people to become concerned about the future ending’s quality.
Honestly, I’m on the side of the readers who found the chapter to have more negatives than positives.
Yet, despite this, I was still intrigued to see whether the anime only viewers would overall like this episode, be divided, or hate it.
From what I have seen so far, I can almost certainly state that most anime only viewers enjoyed this episode.
I have heard some concerns among them but, all in all, the reception does seem to be on the positive side, making my negative opinion on this episode’s writing in the minority.
It is my intent with this review to back up my own negative opinion, so that I can explain the issues I and others have with this episode to any anime only viewers who potentially stumble across this review.
Not to sway them over to a negative side, because I am glad they enjoyed an episode I could not, but to at least help them understand some of our criticisms.
With that out of the way, I will get into the review, however, on a positive note.
Yes, despite not liking “Pride”, it does still have some good moments and the opening scene is one of these.
It depicts the aftermath of Hange’s escape with Levi from Zeke, Floch and the Jeagerists.
Hange and Levi are being hunted by some of the Jeagerists but Hange manages to get the upper hand and kills the both of them, a tear falling from her eye as she does so.
That last detail is a fantastic showcase of the moral complexity of this whole situation, as Hange now has to kill her own people to protect herself and Levi.
Once this is done, she sets about tending to Levi’s wounds and building a transport for him, during which she and Levi see Eren’s message to all other Eldians about the destruction of the world.
At this moment, Levi wakes up and it is at this moment that I was disappointed to see a detail from the manga being left out, this being the explanation of how Levi survived the Thunder Spear explosion Zeke caused.
In the manga, we see in a flashback that, at the last moment, Levi jumped atop his sword to shield himself from the impact, causing shards of his sword to cut into his face.
However, this explanation is removed from the anime, with the only excuse for Levi’s survival being that he is an Ackerman, which was also in the manga but it makes a lot more sense when paired with the explanation of Levi covering himself with his sword.
Back to the scene at hand, Hange and Levi both realize they cannot just sit back on the sidelines, and it is then that the scene transitions to the two’s negotation with Magath and Pieck, as Levi tells them his main goal is to find and kill Zeke, who Hange speculates is with Eren.
At first, Magath threatens Levi and Hange, seeing Levi’s weakened state, but relents upon seeing Levi’s resolve.
Hange then offers an alliance with Magath and Pieck to stop Eren from destroying the world, and it is here that my issues start to come in.
For starters, we do not see what led Hange to come to the conclusion that they all needed to team up with the Warriors.
I’m not saying that it doesn’t make sense for her character because it does but a little explanation for how her thought process was going would have been nice.
Not only this but as soon as Hange offers this alliance the scene cuts.
What were Pieck and Magath’s reaction to her offer at first?
Did they agree quickly or need more convincing?
How does Levi feel about this whole thing?
These are questions that are not answered because the majority of the Alliance’s forming is left entirely off screen.
The Warriors and the Scouts have such a damaged relationship after killing one another for years, so any alliance formed between them would be wrought with tension that would have been great to see.
Too bad we just constantly cut away to bad subplots that feel like massive wastes of time.
Case and point, the Connie and Falco subplot, my second least favourite subplot in Attack on Titan. 
Aside from memers, did anyone really care about Connie’s quest to save his mother here?
The literal end of the world is happening, we have no time to focus on this pointless journey that was clearly never going to end in any way other than Connie changing his mind.
It’s clearly building to that right from the moment that Connie is having his own inner conflict on the matter, the night before he and Falco finally reach Ragako.
Then we just get an awkward joke about brushing Titan teeth before Armin and Gabi run in to save Falco and innevitably do when Armin takes a gamble inspired by Commander Erwin’s previous ones.
This makes Connie come to his senses and decide to become a soldier his mother would have been proud of.
Credit where it is due, this is some solid character development for Connie that ties into the title of the episode.
But, again, we really did not have time for this when the end of the world is happening.
This should have been time spent building up the alliance, which was sorely needed.
What makes it worse is that this was clearly one of the main points of the Connie subplot.
Isayama used it to move Connie and Armin to the right palce, where they could meet up with Annie again.
The issue with this is that such potential for alliance build up is squandered, when all we get from Annie reuniting with Armin and Connie is an out of place pie joke, before the scene once again cuts away.
All we are left with is a scene of Hitch reading a letter from Annie, saying that she has decided to go with Connie and Armin.
Sure would have been nice to see that happen.
Not to mention that Connie laughing at Annie eating a pie just feels weird.
I have heard some defend this moment, explaining that Connie has always laughed during tense situations, like when Bertholdt transformed into the Colossal Titan during the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
While that does make sense, what undermines this is the fact that Connie’s lax attitude towards Annie just does not match with Episode 17, “Judgement”, where he mentioned he was angry at her for betraying them.
It just does not add up.
Out of place comedy being used instead of actual character conflict is another massive issue I have with this episode.
At least there were a few minor details which improved this scene from the manga, like the fantastic transition to the scene from Floch cheering “Shinzou wo Sasageo”, and a cut from the manga I am actually supportive of, this being the cut moment of Gabi joking around with Falco.
The reason I am glad this was removed is because it makes no sense for this to happen when Falco is mourning the death of his brother.
Speaking of which, I am still disappointed that we do not get to see Falco wrestling with his feelings about Colt’s death since, you know, it was his own unwilling Titan transformation that killed him.
Unfortunately, the bad Connie subplot leading to the poorly handled Annie meet up is not the end of the episode’s problems because I now have to talk about the Mikasa and Louise scene, another moment that has caused an argument between those who like “Pride” and those who do not.
The scene in question sees Mikasa track down a dying Louise to find that it was her who took her scarf.
Louise talks about how she wanted to wear the scarf to feel close to Mikasa, saying that Eren wanted the scarf thrown away, only for Mikasa to not give a damn, demand the scarf back, then storm off when she has it.
To me, Mikasa is incredibly unlikeable in this scene, being so dismissive of the dying girl who looks up to her.
I have seen those who like the episode defend Mikasa’s actions, pointing out that Louise is part of an extremist group, stole the scarf, and Mikasa does not owe her anything.
While all of these things are true, I still cannot help but think that this scene does Mikasa’s character a disservice because of the very first scene Louise appeared in, all the way back in Season One.
In Louise’s first appearance, Mikasa saves her and her mother from a Titan, for which the two are grateful and this makes Mikasa happy, before reminding her of her own family.
So, you’re telling me that in Louise’s first scene Mikasa is glad to have saved her and is reminded of her family, only to then be so cruel to Louise when she is literally dying in front of her?
Another thing people have pointed out is that Louise’s devotion to Mikasa causes her to revaluate her devotion to Eren but I would like to ask where that is shown?
Honestly, I think the whole Louise subplot could be removed and nothing would have changed.
Remove the Connie subplot too while we’re at it because, if both of those subplots were gone, then it would have given the story much more time to develop the alliance properly.
Although, I will say that the scenes after these poor ones are much better in quality.
For starters, there is the best scene of the episode with the rescue of Jean, Yelena and Onyankopon from the Jeagerists.
Both Jean and Onyankopon’s characterization in this scene is excellent.
First there is Onyankopon, who rightly calls out the Jeagerists for their hypocrisy and expresses his own grief over his soon to be loss of his homeland and family.
Then there is Jean, who organizes the rescue operation, joining the Alliance to honour Marco’s memory.
Jean and Onyankopon are the best characters in an episode that does a lot of other ones no favours.
As the rescue plan of having Pieck retrieve Jean, Yelena and Onyankopon from the Jeagerists unfolds, we see that the rest of the Alliance is leaving Shiganshina, with Annie and Mikasa having reuinted off screen.
Again, I would have loved to have seen that, especially since the last time they saw one another they were trying to kill each other.
Well, at least the scene where they escape from Shiganshina does include the moment when Annie sees a mysterious figure watching them, the outcome to which I am eagerly anticipating to see play out over the next few episodes.
Then, we get the final scene of “Pride”, which is, without a doubt, the most controversial moment of the episode, when Reiner is awoken by the alliance and told they need to go save the world.
Que the Avengers music.
Personally, this scene has never really bothered me that much because I like how it ties into Reiner’s character arc.
His initial motivation was to save the world but it only lead to him comitting atrocities, causing him to have massive PTSD.
Now, he is being offered the chance to redeem himself by actually saving the world this time.
I think if the scene had focused on this rather than the cheesy avengers formation of the alliance, then it would have been much better received.
Overall, Episode 24 adapts one of the weakest chapters of the manga into what I think is one of the weakest episodes of the series.
It is not Mappa’s fault, since the writing is the problem here.
In fact, I think Mappa did quite a good job, with some great shots, like the reflecton of Connie and Falco in the sword, along with making me realize just how loud the Rumbling would be when we see the characters trying to sleep.
In conclusion, my biggest problem with this alliance formation episode is the constant cutting away from that formation in favour of poorly written subplots and out of place humor.
Although, I will say that the writing for the alliance does get much better going forward (a few questionable instances aside), especially in the next episode.
So, look forward to that.

Manga Spoilers:
The first thing I want to talk about in the manga spoilers section is the Mikasa and Louise subplot.
I gave some harsh criticism to this storyline back there and the reason for this is in large part due to my disappointment at the lost potential, something that I have noticed a lot in regards to Mikasa’s character in general.
One of the biggest missed oppurtunities with her character is definitley her connection with Louise.
Imagine if Mikasa actually cared about Louise and mentored her, eventually coming to feel like she is to blame for her joining the Jeagerists.
This could have created some great character development for her.
What’s more, imagine if, instead of Louise just dying because of a random Thunder Spear, she actually takes part in the upcoming port battle in a future episode and Mikasa either has to kill her to protect the plane or sees her die at someone else’s hand.
Wracked with guilt, she could then retrieve the scarf from Louise’s body, making her actually revaluate her devotion to Eren, having seen the lows this devoition brought Louise to.
But no, instead we just have Louise being devoted to Mikasa, who does not care at all, even when the poor girl is dying, and not having any realization surrounding her devotion to Eren, despite the similarities.
Coming back to the port battle though, we can expect to see that in Episode 27 because it has seemingly been confirmed that each of the following episodes for the second part of Attack on Titan‘s final season will only adapt a single chapter.
I have very mixed feelings about this because I just don’t think that some of these chapters are long enough to justify a single episode, like Episode 26 “Traitor” for example.
I fear they may try to pad these episodes out with large recaps, really slowing down the pacing.
Although, this concern may turn out to be false, so I will admit to that if it turns out to be the case.
It also does not like we will be getting Chapter 131 adapted in this part of the Final Season like I suspected either, so does that mean no Chapter 123 flashback as well?
Will we be seeing those in a movie or a Final Season Part 3?
Only time will tell.