Attack on Titan, The Final Chapter, Toward the Tree on That Hill Review: A Conflicting Ending for My Favourite Story.

please fucking work
Well, it finally happened.
After well over a decade and only one break due to a pandemic, Hajime Isayama has brought his epic story of Attack on Titan to a close.
I can still remember entering this fandom when I watched the first season, all the way back in early 2018.
When I saw the second season, I knew that this story would become something special to me and, sure enough, it is now my favourite story of all time.
Chapters 119-123 especially are the best fiction I’ve ever read.
Now, it’s over.
Isayama concluded his story with Chapter 139, “Toward the Tree on That Hill.”
So, what did I think about the ending?
Well… it’s complicated.
Ever since I finished the chapter I’ve been constantly changing my opinion, going from liking to disliking the way it ended.
Eventually, I just sat down and carefully read the final chapter, trying to understand what Isayama was attempting to say with this ending.
This caused me to come to the conclusion that the ending is decent.
Not great but certainly not bad either.
There are both great and bad things in the chapter, though.
In fact, I think the perfect way to describe “Toward the Tree on That Hill” is as a mixed bag.
There’s a lot to like and a lot to dislike.
I’ll start from the very beginning.
Chapter 139 opens with a flashback to Chapter 131, where it is revealed that Eren actually spoke to Armin when he pulled him into the Paths Dimension.
It is here that Eren proves one of my past theories right, that he did the Rumbling to set up the Alliance as heroes to the world so he could protect them.
Is this a little similar to Lelouch from Code Geass?
Yes but it certainly makes certain plot holes from prior chapters easier to solve, like why Eren didn’t have the Warhammer Titan remove the explosives.
As for the potential problem of Paradis being destroyed, Eren reveals that the Rumbling will kill 80% of humans outside the walls, giving the island a fighting chance.
The horrified look on Armin’s face following this declaration is really well drawn by Isayama.
From here, Isayama gives a great reflection of Eren and Armin’s friendship, as the two journey to lands they always dreamed of through Paths, which is something I really appreciated.
It is in these travels that Eren provides some more twists and it is here that my problems with the final chapter begin to pop up, and the first problem is by far the worst.
Eren tells Armin that the reason why Ymir didn’t go against King Fritz for 2000 years was because she was in love with him.
Yes, you heard right, Ymir was in love with the guy who killed her parents, enslaved her, used her as a weapon in war, raped her, and fed her dead body to their daughters.
I always knew Ymir was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome with King Fritz, given that she sacrificied her life for him.
However, the problem is that the story does not seem to be classifying it as that.
Eren says that it was actual love and then Isayama draws a parralel to Mikasa’s love for Eren with it by having Mikasa’s actions in Chapter 138 cause Ymir to be free from that burden of love, just like Mikasa freed herself.
The one thing you definitley don’t want to do is draw a parralel between your main couple and an incredibly abusive relationship, if you can even call Fritz using Ymir a relationship because I know I don’t.
Another reason I really don’t like this is because it makes me like Chapter 122 so much less to the point that I’m not sure that I can call it my favourite chapter anymore.
When I first read it, I interpreted Ymir as following the King because of because of her stockholm syndrome, not of love but of enslavement.
Ymir had been a slave for so long that she didn’t know how to be anything else and so she continued to do as she was ordered for 2000 years until Eren freed her.
But, no, she did it because she apparently loved the guy who abused her for long, which still does not appear to be labeled as Stolkholm Syndrome, which it most certainly is.
Now, I’m not saying that Isayama actually believes that what Ymir had with Fritz is love, certainly not.
I’m just saying that he could have portrayed it a lot better by calling it was it actually is.
Also, what the heck even happened to Ymir anyway?
She was completley absent in this chapter.
Did she just disappear with the Titan realm?
It’s a shame because not only does all of this lessen my appreciation for “From You, 2000 Years Ago” but also because it is obviously quite problematic to portray Ymir’s feelings about King Fritz in this way.
Unfortunately, this is not the only problematic thing in this scene because later on Armin actually thanks Eren for becoming a mass murderer for their sake… yikes.
I’ll always defend Attack on Titan from those who claim that it is facist propaganda but if this is an accurate translation then Isayama really dropped the ball when considering the implications of this line.
It also seems quite out of character for Armin to thank Eren for killing potentially billions of innocent people.
Speaking of out of character, there’s also the reveal that Eren sent Dina to kill his mother to set them on this path.
Not only do I not believe Eren would do this but it is also brought up and then forgotten about in an instant.
You could completley remove this twist and nothing about the final chapter would change.
Then there’s Eren crying out about how he doesn’t want Mikasa to have any other man but him and how he wants her to be constantly thinking about him.
This scene seems like it’s being played for laughs but, given how it came after the reveal that Eren had murdered 80% of the human population and allowed Dina to kill his own mother, it feels really out of place.
Eren finally revealing his true feelings for Mikasa should have been played as serious rather than comedic.
We also get the teased final panel in this scene and it is actually not the final panel but rather a small flashback of Grisha telling Eren that he is free.
While I do like the symbolism of this, showing that Grisha changed his ways and also set Eren on his path to freedom, I do think that teasing this as one of the last panels was a mistake.
It led to too many fan theories and expectations, which naturally made a lot of people disappointed when their own theories didn’t turn out to be true.
In any case, following Eren’s goodbye to Armin, we then cut to the present where Eren being killed has caused the Hallucigenia to self destruct and turn all the Titans back into humans, including Jean, Connie and Gabi.
While this is quite convenient, I’m just personally glad that those three characters came back because I felt their goodbyes in Chapter 138 weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been.
Along with this, it’s revealed that Eren also sent most of the Alliance a goodbye, before erasing their memories of it.
This includes Mikasa, which doesn’t really make sense because she’s an Ackerman, so her memory shouldn’t have been able to be erased.
Although, maybe the memory she saw was the one Eren sent her right before she killed him in Chapter 138, so that would explain it.
Either way, this does lead to some pretty funny and moving moments, like Pieck comedically saying she wishes she could have spoke to Eren too and Falco running to reunite with Gabi, only for her to fling him in the air in excitement.
Following this, we get the absolute best moment of the final chapter.
The scene that actually made me tear up.
As Levi is resting up against a rock, he see his old comrades standing among the smoke, giving him the Survey Corps salute.
Levi says that this outcome is the result of their devoted hearts, before returning the salute and shedding a tear.
What an absolutley perfect way to conclude Levi’s arc.
It was beautiful and, in my opinion, the best conclusion of any character in this chapter.
Almost as beautiful was Jean and Connie seeing Sasha.
Following this heartfelt moment, Mikasa takes Eren’s head to bury it in the place the entire story began, just as Muller and the other Marleyan officers from Fort Salta arrive.
Muller is anxious about the Eldians, which is consistent from him seeing that they all transformed in Chapter 138.
I also like the line where he tells them to prove if they are humans or Titans, just like Eren was told to prove this when he transformed for the first time in the Trost Arc.
It is at this point that Armin strolls in like a boss and begins the peace negotiations that he was born for, claiming that he was the one to kill Eren.
On this dramatic note, the chapter cuts to three years later and another one of my problems come in, this being Historia’s fate.
It is revealed that her pregancy went well and she now lives on her farm with her daughter and the farmer, who she married.
That’s right, those of us who thought Eren was the father looked too deep into it.
Now, I just want to say, this is not me criticizing Isayama’s choice to not make Eren the father.
That’s on me for looking too deep into it and getting invested in that theory.
More so, this is a criticism of Isayama pairing Historia up with the farmer of all people.
I just think it is poor writing to have a character, who was once so important, be completley sidelined and then married to an unamed character that no one cares about.
It is especially annoying when this is the replacement for a fantastic relationship, if Freckled Ymir and Historia really were supposed to be implied as romantic, which I like to think that they were.
Speaking of which, my headcanon is that Historia named her child after Ymir and I will not be accepting any arguments against that.
Jokes aside, I’m actually not going to hold the farmer being the father against this chapter.
No, that’s more a problem I have with its reveal in Chapters 107 and 108.
What I will hold against the chapter, though, is the completley baffling lack of importance surrounding the birth of Historia’s child.
With all of the themes about children, it seemed like Isayama wanted us to think there was going to be something important about this baby.
From Historia’s pregancy being the cliffhanger of the first chapter for the final arc, to her pregnancy constantly being brought up despite her barely making an appearance, to her asking Eren what he would think about her having a child, to her being shown about to give birth right before the final battle.
All of this seemed like foreshadowing for the baby’s importance.
I thought it was going to be through a Founder Ymir reincarnation or at the very least a symbolic representation of freedom, with Historia’s child being the first Eldian born after the Titan curse had been removed.
Instead her pregnancy was completley pointless and all of that build up and Historia being sidelined was for nothing.
It seems pretty clear now that Isayama had no idea what to do with Historia post time skip.
Oh, well, at least she seems happy and Isayama didn’t decide to just kill her off during childbirth.
Anyway, once this brief moment with Historia’s unimportant child is shown, we get another reveal that is controversial within the fandom but one that I actually like.
This is the reveal that the cycle of violence hasn’t truly ended because Paradis has formed an army to fight the remainder of the world if need be, with Eren being viewed as a martyr.
While many seem to think that this makes Eren’s actions pointless because the cycle isn’t over, I think it actually works well because Eren still gave the island a chance and it’s also representative of the real world.
Unfortunately, total unanimous peace just isn’t feasible.
There will always be violence, war and horrors throughout our history.
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t good in the world, though, because as one of Attack on Titan‘s main themes states, “the world is cruel but it’s also beautiful.”
It is this world that the Alliance now seek to help make better, going on a diplomatic mission to Paradis where Historia and Kiyomi are waiting.
Speaking of Kiyomi, if she’s there then where’s Yelena?
Last we saw of her, she was on a boat in the ocean with Kiyomi and now she’s gone.
There’s another character Isayama didn’t know what to do with at the end but she wasn’t too much of an important character, so it’s thankfully not as bad as it is with Historia.
Back to the Alliance returning, we get one last goodbye with all these characters who we have come to know and love, with plenty of Isayama’s textbook humor on display, as the characters joke about Reiner’s crush on Historia and Jean looking like a horse.
The conversation then turns serious when Annie and Pieck wonder if they’ll really be welcomed as ambassadors to Paradis for the world but Connie says to trust in Historia and Armin tells them those on Paradis will want to know what they saw.
I wonder if this is implying that Armin’s narration throughout the story is actually him telling the people of Paradis what lead them all to this point.
That’s pretty cool if it’s true.
We also get a look at Levi, Gabi, Falco and Onyankopon living their lives in the outside world.
I’m really glad that all the surviving members of the Alliance got their own happy ending.
I’m pretty much satisfied with all of their conclusions.
The panel of Armin, Annie, Jean, Connie and Pieck looking up at the sky from their boat, right as Levi and the others do where they are, is striking.
We then get the final, touching scene of this fantastic story, as Mikasa rests at the titular tree on the hill where the story began, right next to Eren’s grave.
As she breaks down into tears about wanting to meet Eren once more, a bird flies down and wraps the rest of the scarf around her before taking off.
The manga ends with Mikasa looking up at this bird, thanking Eren for wrapping the scarf around her all those years ago.
Pretty fitting that the story ends with all of the characters looking up at the sky, at the freedom of birds and planes.
So, all in all, this final chapter is a mixed bag.
There is some really bad stuff about it, like the problematic writing of the opening scene and Historia and her pregnancy’s treatment.
However, there is also some amazing stuff, like Levi’s tear jerking conclusion to his character arc and the final scenes with all the characters that we love.
With this mixture of good and bad scenes, it creates a final chapter that I consider to be overall decent.
Not nearly as good as it could have been but still satisfying enough, nonetheless.
Yet, even though I am slightly disappointed with the ending, I still appreciate Hajime Isayama for gifting us with this amazing story that delivered some of the best characters and plot twists that I have experienced.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Hajime Isayama.
You have been hard at work on this story for over a decade and you should pat yourself on the back for all your hard work and the joy (and suffering) you brought to so many readers, myself included.
Attack on Titan will always remain as one of the greats for me and I can’t believe that it’s over.

Attack on Titan Final Chapter Predictions.

Well, this is it.
We are only days away from the final chapter of Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan. 
It’s been a heck of a ride, one I’ve been on since early 2018, and I’m honestly not ready for it to end.
This will be my last predictions post for the series, so I had better make the most of it and try to guess at what I believe is most likely to happen in Chapter 139.
I will admit, though, I am a little concerned about the chapter itself because I don’t know how much Isayama will be able to fit in with just 45 pages, if that really is how many he has to work with.
Still, I do have faith in Isayama and I’m excited to see how my favourite story will conclude.
So, let’s begin my final predictions post.

Will the Early Bird get the Worm?

In previous predictions posts, I have stated that I believe the Hallucigenia will most likely be killed by Reiner, making him the Helos of the story, as he inadvertantly brings an end to the Titan powers.
However, after hearing some more theories, I think there is a much more likely candidate for destroying the Hallucigenia, this being Falco.
He does have the Jaw Titan, so him actually being able to crush the Hallucigenia with his strong jaw would make a lot of sense.
There also appears to be foreshadowing for this moment added into the Final Season.
Just look at the first episode of that season, where there is an anime only scene of Falco mentioning a dream about him flying around and killing Titans with a sword.
These appear to be memories of a Scout, which Falco should have no way of knowing, meaning he could gain access to the Coordinate and all previous Titan Shifters’ memories if he eats the Hallucigenia.
This is also supported by the ED of the Final Season as well because it looks like Falco is shown literally grasping the Coordinate’s power in his hands after Ymir is shown.
My best guess is that Chapter 139 will begin with the defeat of the Hallucigenia, as the Warriors potentially manage to feed it to Falco, ending Titan powers all togethor.
However, if this does end up happening, the removal of all Titan powers through the destruction of the Hallucigenia raises questions about the fate of certain characters.

What Will Happen to Jean, Connie and Gabi?

Coming into Chapter 138, “A Long Dream” I expected most of the Alliance to be safe, so imagine my surprise and horror when Jean, Connie and Gabi were all Titanized by the Hallucigenia.
There have been a lot of theories about what will happen to them if the Eldians’ ability to turn into Titans is vanquished entirely.
Some believe they will all just turn back to normal, some say they will all die, and some say only one or two of them will come back.
If I had to pick any character who is most likely to turn back into a human, it would be Gabi.
She didn’t get much of a goodbye when she transformed last chapter and I don’t really see how it ties into her arc, like it did with Jean and Connie’s.
So, maybe Reiner will sacrifice himself to bring Gabi back?
Heck, this is Isayama we’re talking about, so we can expand that prediction.
What if it’s not just Reiner sacrificing himself but Annie and Pieck as well?
There’s currently three Titan Shifters fighting those who have been Titanized and three important characters who are Titans.
So, what if, after the Hallucigenia is destroyed, Reiner, Annie and Pieck all allow themselves to be eaten by Jean, Connie and Gabi, so they can come back but also to make up for all the bad things they did in the past.
You may be wondering why they don’t allow themselves to be eaten by their Titanized family members instead, like Annie would do for her father, but I think this is where the Marleyan officers, lead by Muller, come into play.
For the past few chapters, they’ve been preparing canons that have never been used.
They could fire those canons to help the Alliance and end up taking out the Warriors families, leaving only Jean, Gabi and Connie for them to sacrifice themselves to.
This would not only be a fitting end for the three Warrior characters but also be incredibly tragic, so it’s definitley something I can see Isayama doing.
What’s less clear cut is what happens after all this.

What Will be the State of the World?

This has been a big question the fandom has had for a while now.
Ever since the Alliance took up arms against Eren, there has been a lot of speculation about what will happen to Paradis if they succeed.
It has been mentioned time and time again how if the Rumbling fails then the world will attack the island to stop it from happening again.
However, one important thing to note is that Eren basically wiped out most of the Global Alliance with only Fort Salta posing a threat.
So, even if the world did decide to attack Paradis now that the Rumbling has been stopped, they might not have enough forces to do anything substantial.
Then there’s the whole Helos foreshadowing situation, where the Alliance could be framed as heroes for stopping the Rumbling, earning Paradis’ saftey.
They also might have Muller and Kiyomi’s help so that’s something.
Although, Muller did see a bunch of people he just agreed to help transform into Titans last chapter so I could see him flipping on that.
Honestly, at this point I’m thinking that the fate of Paradis Island and its relationship with the rest of the world will be kept vague.
Again, this final chapter is only supposed to be 45 pages, at least from what I hear, so I don’t know if that’s enough time to get into all this when there are more important things to cover.
I just hope Isayama gives us a little hint of how things will go in the aftermath of the Rumbling and whether Paradis can surive in a world where it failed or not.

The Importance of Historia’s Baby.

It wouldn’t be one of my predictions posts if I didn’t talk about Historia would it?
In all seriousness, Historia and her unborn child are one of the biggest unresolved plotlines in the entire story right now.
Some say that Historia and her baby aren’t important to the story but that completley ignores the rules of Chekov’s Gun.
If you place a gun on the mantle in the first act, then you have to fire it by the third.
Similarily, if you place a bun in the oven by the beginning of an arc, then it has to be ready by the end of it.
Historia’s pregnancy was revealed in the very first chapter of the final arc, Chapter 107, and, even though she’s barely been seen since then, the other characters have brought up her and her future child constantly.
It was even mentioned in the most recent chapter when, in Mikasa’s dream world, Eren says that he, “couldn’t send Historia to hell.”
It’s almost like, despite her not being in the story much anymore, Isayama doesn’t want us to forget about her or her pregnancy.
Then there’s the fact that he showed Historia about to give birth literally as the final battle was starting, potentially meaning that any Titans who die without being consumed, like Zeke did and maybe Eren, would have their powers go to the child.
Taking this into consideration, along with the themes about children being the future, which is outright said by Onyankopon in Chapter 118, and all of this points to Historia’s child being important to the ending.
I have said this before but I believe what makes the most sense thematically is for Ymir Fritz to be reborn as Historia’s child into a free world.
All the pieces for this happening are there.
Historia will most likely name her child after Freckled Ymir, the woman who saved her life, not knowing that this new child is actually the literal reincarnation of the original Ymir, now free after 2000 years.
Then there’s the matter of the father.
I know the father debate has been beaten to death at this point but I still don’t see the reason Isayama would make some no name character none of us care about the father, especially if the child is going to be Ymir’s reincarnation.
Eren being the father would also tie in greatly to the themes about freedom, children and rebirth.
Although I will admit that this is less likely to happen now considering that Isayama supposedly confirmed Eremika last chapter.
However, this may turn out to be inspired by Muv Luv, one of Isayama’s inspirations, where (don’t quote me on this) the main character supposedly has two love interests.
So, I still believe there is a good chance of the E+H=Y theory happening.
If I had to choose though, I’d definitley perfer Ymir Fritz being reborn over Eren being the father.
It just ties into the themes of the story so well.

Will we Finally get Eren and Ymir’s P.O.V?

This is definitley the thing the final chapter needs more than anything, Eren and Ymir’s POV.
These two characters have been so mysterious throughout the entirety of the final arc
At first, it seemed like Eren’s true goal really was to destroy the world to save Paradis, however, recent events in the final battle seem to have shaken this foundation.
Everything just seemed too easy for the Alliance in their final battle with Eren.
They only suffered casualties when the Hallucigenia got involved, otherwise Eren seemed to be deliberately holding back in a lot of ways, like the Warhammer Titan not removing the explosives around Eren’s gigantic Titan’s nape, for example.
Then there’s Chapter 137, where Ymir actually allows the dead Titan Shifters to come back and help the Alliance, with Armin saying she wants something from them.
Finally, there’s her smiling when Mikasa decapitates Eren and kisses him at the end of the penultimate chapter.
So, clearly there’s something more to Eren and Ymir’s plan.
In my previous predictions post, I made the theory that Eren was planning to make the Alliance the next Helos and saviours of humanity to save Paradis.
However, in retrospect, that seems a little too similar to what Lelouch did in Code Geass.
I still think that the Alliance could become Helos but this may be an unintentional thing on Eren’s part.
What I think is more likely now is that Eren’s true goal is what he said it was from the very beginning, bringing an end to the Titans.
This will most likely happen with the destruction of the Hallucigenia, as I have stated previously.
Following this, I think either the Alliance will be regarded as the next Helos, giving them a chance for peace, or Eren will have signifcantly destroyed the world’s military forces to the point that they can’t launch another attack, potentially both.
But, if this is what Eren and Ymir’s plan is, to destroy all Titan powers and have Ymir be reborn, then what will happen to Eren?
There has been a lot of speculation about how he could have survived Mikasa decaptiating him in Chapter 138 but, honestly, I believe he is dead for sure, at least physically.
The “See you later, Eren” moment had been built up to for 138 chapters so it would be weird for Isayama to potentially undermine this powerful moment by having Eren actually survive it.
I think the only possible way that Eren could still make active moves in the final chapter is if his soul is now trapped in Paths, similar to what happened to Ymir in Chapter 122.
So, we will either learn about Eren and Ymir’s P.O.V through a flashback or through him in Paths.
As for what happens to him if he really is trapped in Paths, if that dimension is destroyed with the Hallucigenia, then he will probably disappear entirely.
If the Paths Dimension isn’t destroyed, though, then there is the possibility that he willingly stays there forever to safeguard the Paths and make sure that they are never misused.
Also, when we take into consideration that Isayama was inspired by Muv Luv it could be possible that Eren will get an ending similar to that, where he is either trapped in a time loop or alternate universe.
Although, if this is the case, I would really perfer Eren willingly going into a time loop, giving up his own freedom to ensure his friends’, than to just end up in an alternate universe where everything is in the modern day.
That would just be too out of left field for me.
No matter what happens to Eren, though, we need to get his and Ymir’s P.O.V in the final chapter.
It is the most important dangling plot thread left in the story and it needs to be resolved.

Final Predictions for the Final Panel.

There have been so many theories over who is in the final panel ever since a draft of it was revealed.
The panel shows a mysterious figure holding a newborn baby and telling them they are free.
I have heard plenty of weird theories about this, from the baby being the one seen on the cliff face who just survived the Rumbling, to the baby being the human form of that crawling Titan seen in Chapter 90.
The two most prominant and most likely theories I have heard, though, are that it is either Eren holding a reborn Ymir, or a flashback or time loop to Grisha holding a baby Eren.
Both of these are plausible and I discussed them at length in my Chapter 138 predictions post.
However, I can now say with certainty that the theory that Eren has somehow survived and is holding Historia’s child is almost certainly never going to happen, since I think Eren is physically dead.
He can still hold the baby Ymir from the Paths Dimension but, as far as him actually surviving and holding her physically, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
This also pretty much removes all chances of the ANR ending happening, where Eren murders all of his friends then lives out the rest of his life in guilt.
Although, this theory was always pretty unlikely, in my opinion, since it came from a freaking music video and, even if they do know the ending, I doubt Linked Horizon would have been given the clear to spoil it like that.
So, if Eren’s holding the baby, then I can only see that happening from the Paths Dimension.
That said, the story ending with Eren telling a reborn Ymir that she is free would be very thematically impactful, especially since King Fritz used the freedom card to begin hunting Ymir, only now she is actually, truly free.
The chapter number, 139, is also supposed to mean rebirth so that is another sign hinting at the Ymir rebirth ending.
As for the Grisha ending, this will come from a flashback or Eren being stuck in a time loop.
We will switch scenes to Eren’s birth where Grisha’s first words to him are how he is free.
This will be significant because Grisha’s first words to Zeke were how, as a child of royal blood, he was expeted to save the world.
Grisha telling Eren that he is free would have started his strive for freedom that he has had since the beginning and show what lead to him eventually ending the cycle of violence.
I think that both of these endings would be fantastic ways to end the story of Attack on Titan. 
It could end on a hopeful note in a free world, with the Eren and Ymir ending, or it could end with a showcase of what started the journey to this free world, with Eren and Grisha.
Who knows, maybe Isayama has a completley different ending in mind that will blow us away?
We won’t know until we finally get the final chapter.
This has been my final predictions post and I’m sad to see it end alongside this amazing story.
Now, we advance to the final chapter.
Shinzou wo Sasageyo!

Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Sixteen, Above and Below Review: Part One Ending as it Began.

4 stars
Well, that’s a wrap people, at least for now. 
Part One of the Final Season of Attack on Titan has concluded with its sixteenth episode, “Above and Below”, with Part Two airing either later this year or in early 2022.
What a place to end Part One on as well, considering that what many people, including myself, consider to be the best part of the Manga is set to be adapted next. 
At least the wait will be worth it. 
I just hope that the Mappa animators don’t have to deal with such a hellish schedule this time around but, given what they’re going to have to animate, I unfortunately doubt it. 
As for the episode itself, “Above and Below” does a very good job of getting viewers excited for this second half. 
Directed by Teruyuki Ōmine, Tomoko Hiramuki, and Jun Shishido, the episode begins with a brief showcase of the aftermath of Zeke setting off the thunderspear at the end of “Sole Salvation.”
With his lower half completley gone, he lies dying in a field of flowers, when he recieves a brief and mysterious vision of a young girl with shaded eyes, who is carrying a bucket. 
Before this can be explained, one of Zeke’s Titans, who survived Levi’s purge last episode, crawls up to Zeke, rips open its stomach, and stuffs him inside, no doubt confusing many anime only viewers. 
This is the last time we see Zeke in the episode and Part One, creating a slight disappointment in me that a scene I expected to be adapted in “Above and Below” wasn’t. 
The scene that was cut is quite an amazing one from the manga, so I’m sad that we’re going to have to wait a while to get it but, hey, it’s not the end of the world. 
I know I’ll get to see this moment eventually, along with the plenty of other mind blowing moments from the manga that have yet to be adapted. 
Once this scene with Zeke is over, the episode cuts to Shiganshina, where Yelena is having her self prophecized dinner with Commander Pyxis, who notices that the Volunteers and the Yeagerists are using Marleyan tactics to take over the military, identifying people with armband. 
White means they’re a Jeagerist, red means they were blackmailed into working with them through the tainted wine, and black is for those who continued to drink the poisoned wine without realizing, like Pyxis. 
His bleak situation does not erase his sharpness, though, as he quickly picks up on Yelena commenting about a plan to “save the world.” 
This confuses Pyxis because he and many others thought the plan was to save just the island with a partial Rumbling, completly unaware of Zeke’s Euthanization Plan, which Yelena then brings to the locked up 104th. 
Yet, before she explains this plan to them, we get the fallout from Eren’s disastrous meeting with Armin and Mikasa, which ended with him telling Mikasa that he hated her and beating up Armin. 
Mikasa just seems dead inside about the whole thing and Armin appears to be more conflicted than ever. 
That leaves Jean to reassure them, unexpectedly saying Eren must have had a reason for what he did. 
This is some great development for Jean because, at the beginning of the story, he would never have spoken in Eren’s favour, yet here he actually does so, showing true growth. 
As for another character who gets more entertaining as the show goes on, we then get one of Yelena’s best scenes, as she enters to tell the 104th about the Euthanization Plan.
With her are Onyankopon, who seems to have betrayed them, and probably now one of the most hated characters Greiz.
I say this because he dared to mock and degrade Sasha in front of her possible boyfriend and family, long after she died. 
Seeing Yelena put a bullet in his head after he called her the W word pleased a lot of fans, I’m sure. 
It also shows just how enjoyably nuts Yelena is.
You never know if she’s just going to have a conversation with someone or stab them in the neck. 
Speaking of stabbing people in the neck, we then get Pieck’s epic entrance with the adaptation of one of her best scenes from the manga, as she manages to corner Eren when he goes to try and blackmail Gabi into helping him by using Falco.  
Marching into the room and stabbing Eren’s guard, Pieck seems to have the advantage, until Eren clearly points out she’s in no position to kill him, being under orders to capture the Founding Titan. 
It’s here that we end up seeing why Pieck is one of the smartest characters because she actually manages to fool Eren into thinking she wants to defect to save her father, or at least make him think that trusting her is worth the risk. 
Although, one criticism I do have that carries over from the manga about this scene is that I do feel that Pieck’s backstory is a little too similar to Annie’s but it’s not a massive problem. 
Also, the rest of the scene is pretty great, with Pieck ripping away the last shreds of Gabi’s indoctrination, explaining to her that the Marleyans will never free her, no matter how hard she tries.
Pieck then offers to prove herself to Eren by taking him up to the roof where she can point out her comrades. 
The scene then cuts to the reveal of another character who is a pretty great liar, that being Armin. 
As Yelena fanatically explains the Euthanization Plan, Armin appears to laugh but covers it up with tears, or maybe cries for a very different reason to what he claims to Yelena.
Either way, he’s certainly fooled Yelena into thinking that he is on board with the Euthanization Plan. 
Any way he can take this further is quickly interrupted by news of Pieck’s apparent defection, though, as Eren leads her to the top of the roof. 
It looks like many of the Yeagerists are ready to become Pieck simps when she smiles and waves at them.
Unfortunately for them, they are not long for this world, as you can see Porco hiding amongst the crowd, having seen the handcuffs that Eren had placed on Pieck and Gabi to prevent her from transforming.  
What follows is pretty much a full minute of Pieck basically rubbing it in Eren’s face about how smart she is and trying to worm any additional information out of him before the inevitable ambush happens. 
What an ambush it is too, as Eren is prepared to transform but completley unprepared for Porco’s attack from below and Marley’s attack from above. 
The build up to this moment is great with the lack of music up until Pieck points the finger at Eren when he asks where the enemy is, and her well animated smile of reassurance at Gabi. 
Once the tables turn and Porco attacks, biting off Eren’s legs, we get a great transformation scene of Eren, in which his Titan is 2D, most likely pleasing those who had a problem with the CGI this season. 
However, I do think some of the animation was lacking in this scene and also in a few others. 
For example, the shot of the airships coming down to assault Shiganshina does look quite a bit off. 
So, I suppose it’s a good thing that Mappa’s getting more time to animate Part Two.
Again, though, I hope the animators get treated way better than they did this time around with the really bad production schedule and tonnes of crunch. 
Aside from the couple of animation issues, this final scene is still incredibly hype, ending Part One of the season exactly as it began, with Reiner in an airship ready to attack. 
This parralel makes it a fitting place to end Part One of the Final Season. 
There was certainly a different part they could have ended it on, which would have frustrated anime only viewers even more, so it’s probably a good thing they ended it where they did. 
Overall, “Above and Below” is a pretty good episode, with a hype ending. 
It might not be the best episode of the season so far but it was a fitting way to end the first half. 
And, even though we may have to wait a while for Part Two, us manga readers still have the final chapter of the story to look forward to, which is supposed to be dropping on the ninth. 
It’ll be interesting to see how this story will end and how Mappa with adapt it when the next half of the Final Season starts, either in late 2021 or early 2022. 

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Fifteen, Sole Salvation Review: A Cautionary Tale.

5 stars
Much like Chapters 112 and 113, Chapter 114 of Attack on Titan is one that I have slowly come to appreciate more in the years since it came out.
So, I was pretty excited to see it adapted in Episode 15 of the Final Season, “Sole Salvation”, which aired right alongside the delayed episode, “Savagery.”
I mention that episode here because while I think that “Savagery” could have been adapted a little better, I think that “Sole Salvation” is a perfect adaptation of its corresponding chapter that mostly improves on the source material, with its fantastic animation, voice acting, and soundtrack.
Directed by Mitsue Yamazaki, the episode is entirely devoted to Zeke’s backstory and explains his relationship with the mysterious man teased at the end of Episode 14, why he decided to turn on his parents, how he came to his ideology and what this ideology is.
That last point is foreshadowed right at the beginning of “Sole Salvation”, where it is shown how Grisha and Dina tried to indoctrinate Zeke in their cause to restart the Eldian Empire by taking Zeke to a tower and showing him the poor conditions Eldians are forced to live in compared with the rest of the world.
It is at this moment that a seemingly kind, old janitor walks in and apologises for interrupting, saying he can come back later.
Any niceties disappear, though, when he sees the armband on Grisha’s arm and throws his bucket full of dirty water at them in disgust, blaming them for the murder of millions of innocents, even though this happened centuries ago and none of them could possibly be responsible.
The old man even goes as far to scold them for “pumping out kids”, in reference to Zeke, an important line that will affect Zeke’s ideology going forward.
Grisha again uses this situation to try and instill a drive in Zeke to change the world, telling him that he will save everyone, however, this is clearly not helping Zeke, considering the poor kid is doing the worst at training because his heart is not set on being a Warrior.
Can you really blame Zeke, though?
The kid just wants to live with his parents and be seen as their son, not as their tool for reviving Eldia.
It is here that we get our first look at Zeke’s father figure, Tom Ksaver, the former Beast Titan who seems to take an immediate interest in Zeke.
Along with him, Zeke also has his grandparents who do actually care about him and what he wants, yet still try to indoctrinate him with Marleyan propaganda about how the Eldian Empire was pure evil and committed countless sins.
One interesting thing to note about this scene is how the illustrations in Mr and Mr Jaeger’s book on the different atrocities the Eldian Empire supposedly committed against Marley actually link back to the ED of the Second Season.
That ED was just full of spoilers and foreshadowing for future events, wasn’t it?
Back to the episode, we then get the opposite side of the indoctrination Zeke suffers, as Grisha attempts to teach him the exact opposite of what his grandparents said, that Eldia never committed the atrocities Marley claims because Ymir would never allow it.
As for the truth?
Well, it’s probably somewhere down the middle.
The Eldian Empire certainly did a lot of evil things but they also did some good.
It just depends on where you’re perspective falls, I suppose.
Once we see both of these scenes showing how Zeke’s parents and grandparents are trying to indoctrinate him, we then get his introduction to the one person who never tried to, Ksaver.
The two offically meet when Ksaver’s baseball rolls into Zeke’s path, seemingly by chance, although it is pretty clear by the end that Ksaver did this on purpose because Zeke reminded him of his dead son.
The two form an instant friendship, as Ksaver praises Zeke ernestly and not based on what he expects him to be, like Grisha and Dina do.
Speaking of which, we then get yet another showcase of how the two were not the best parents, as Zeke returns to find them arguing with Falco’s uncle, Grice, about Zeke’s low scores, which most likely means he won’t inherit a Titan.
Again, Grisha makes it clear what is expected of Zeke as his and Dina’s son and a child of royal blood but, again, Zeke just cannot live up to these expectations.
He still can’t keep up with the other kids and is horrified when Grisha storms off in disappointment.
Clearly not father of the year material.
At least Dina is kind enough to understand that Zeke is trying, attempting to tell a screaming Grisha this, while Zeke cries in the other room.
I also really have to give props to Grisha’s voice actor, Hiroshi Tsuchida, who did an absolutley amazing job this episode, especially with his screaming.
Again, in Zeke’s darkest moment, Ksaver is there to help him, lifting his spirts by telling him how it’s a good thing he won’t inherit a Titan and that they are both decent people.
However, Zeke’s newly lifted spirt is dashed upon the rocks when he hears Marleyan officers talking about how they are close to locating the Eldia Restorationists and their leaders.
Distraught, Zeke attempts to warn his parents, without explicitly telling them that they are close to being found out.
It is right before this moment that Grisha gives him such a look of disappointment that I’m sure it made all of us want to kick him.
If we didn’t know his own traumatic past then Grisha would be completley unlikeable here.
This past is hinted at in this scene  because Grisha only explodes into anger when Zeke brings up his aunt Faye, who was feed to dogs, not wanting to end up like her.
Grisha’s angry reaction results in Zeke breaking down to Ksaver and telling him everything about his parents.
He comforts his father figure, though, telling Ksaver that because of all the fun times they had togethor, he will remember him, even if he is turned into a Titan.
Clearly seeing Zeke as a son now, Ksaver begs Zeke to turn his parents in to save himself and his grandparents, stating that his parents used him as a tool and never loved him, something that is, for the most part, unfortunately true.
And so Zeke turns his parents in at the behest of Ksaver and many years pass, during which Zeke and Ksaver grow closer to being like an actual father and son.
Soon, Ksaver’s term is close to its end, meaning he will have to pass his Titan on.
However, he is thankful that he managed to finish his research, discovering that every single Subject of Ymir is connected to the Founding Titan, meaning that it could change their bodies at any moment, and it is here that Zeke’s ideology finally comes to its full fruition.
Remembering what the old janitor yelled at him and his parents all those years ago, Zeke wonders aloud if the Founding Titan could sterilize all Eldians so that no more Subjects of Ymir will be born, and the power of the Titans will eventually vanish entirely from the world.
In Zeke’s mind, this would also mean no Eldian would have to suffer.
This explains much of Zeke’s apathy when he murdered countless Scouts before.
He believes that he is saving them from the cruel world.
When this genocide by sterlization plan was revealed in the manga, a few people decided this was proof that Attack on Titan was facist propaganda but I think it’s obvious that this is not that at all but a cautionary tale.
Subjected to brainwashing attempts and racism all his life, Zeke came to the conclusion that it would be better if his entire race didn’t exist so seeks to commit genocide by sterilization with his Euthanization Plan, which he sees as saving the world.
It’s screwed up and shows what dangers can be created from such despicable things, like prejudice and indoctrination.
These two things have clearly affected Ksaver as well because his own experiences causes him to align with Zeke’s plan.
When he was young, Ksaver took off his armband and married a woman, who he had a child with.
However, when she found out that he was an Eldian, she killed their son and then herself in disgust.
This goes to show just how strong the hatred for Subjects of Ymir is in the outside world, because it both destroys the Eldians and those who hate them.
In this scene, there also appear to be a few hints through the toys of Ksaver’s son to future plot points but I won’t say what in case any anime only viewers happen to read this review.
Following the formation of Zeke and Ksaver’s Euthanization plan, Ksaver reveals to Zeke how he will need to find someone he can trust to give the Founding Titan to.
Not long after that, Zeke finally inherits Ksaver’s Titan and truly acknowledges him as his father.
Low and behold, who should Zeke learn about many years later who he thinks would be perfect for joining him in his plan to sterilize all Eldians?
Why, his half-brother Eren of course.
The two finally meet in Marley and Eren seems to quickly accept Zeke’s plan, claiming that there is no greater gift than to not be born into this world, warping his own catch phrase into something much more sinister.
Zeke tears up from Eren calling him brother, showing just how much he was longing for this familial love.
Even though Zeke has done monstrous things, you just can’t help but feel sorry for the guy.
Levi, however, is understandably not so sympathetic, as he continues to taunt Zeke in the present about how he will be feed to a Titan.
This was clearly not the best call, along with impailing a thunderspear in Zeke’s stomach because a delirious Zeke rips the pin off with a scream for Mr Ksaver to keep watching him.
Takehito Koyasu also does an excellent job voicing Zeke here, in all his delirious desperation.
Just as excellent is the animation, with the close up on the characters’ eyes and the rain drops falling in slow motion, right before the big bang of the Thunderspear exploding, blowing both Levi and Zeke away, leaving their fates uncertain.
A frusrating cliffhanger for the anime only viewers that is pure Attack on Titan. 
“Sole Salvation” is pretty much a perfect adaptation of its chapter counterpart.
With its amazing animation, voice acting, and soundtrack, it easily tops the manga in plenty of areas.
Now there’s just one more episode of Attack on Titan for me to review before we have to wait for the rest of the final season begins airing at the end of the year or in early 2022.

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Thirteen, Children of the Forest Review: An Intense Adaptation for an Underated Chapter.

5 stars
I really loved Chapter 111 of Attack on Titan when I first read it and I think it is one of the most underated chapters in the entire manga.
So, imagine my excitement to see it so well adapted in the thirteenth episode of the final season, “Children of the Forest.”
Directed by Yasuhiro Geshi and Kōnosuke Uda, the episode picks up first with a scene from Chapter 110, which many feared was cut, that being Zeke’s flashback revealing what he did to Ragako village.
The scene opens with the village being consumed by gas, fanned in by Marleyan soldiers, with Zeke and Pieck in attendance.
Once the smoke hits them, all of the villagers, Connie’s family among them, collapse and are unable to move.
Zeke then Titanizes them with his roar, just like he did back in the first episode of this final season.
However, Zeke’s explanation of these events and how he supposedly did it to save Eldia clearly does not satisfy Levi, understandably.
Levi believes Zeke to have not a shred of guilt over his actions, which is not helped by Zeke’s good mood.
This does lead to a pretty humorous scene, though, where Zeke assumes Levi must not be very popular with the ladies.
Oh, Zeke, if only you knew the extent to which Levi fangirls will go.
This comedic and on the nose moment is quickly interrupted, though, as soldiers arrive to inform Levi of Zachary’s assasination at the hands of the Yeagerists.
With that, the episode transitions into the adaption of Chapter 111, as Gabi, Falco, Kaya, and the Braus family arrive to taste Niccolo’s excellent cooking in remembrance of Sasha.
It is here that Gabi and Falco plan to make contact with Niccolo based on Kaya’s advice, all of them still unaware that the woman Gabi killed was Sasha herself.
The tension of this reveal slowly builds as Falco begins to realize something is amiss, and Hange and the 104th arrive to question Niccolo.
However, the impending reveal to those characters close to Sasha that Gabi was the one who killed her is not the only case of growing tension here, because now the wine is coming into play.
I did criticize how easy it was to guess that there was something up with the wine in Episode Ten, when it was more subtle in the manga, but now I would like to rescind this criticism.
It being made fairly obvious that the wine was poisoned with something made the scene where Jean and Connie almost take a sip very nerve-racking.
Thank goodness Niccolo had the foresight, and the added kindness thanks to Sasha, to stop them from doing so, although he did end up using Marleyan racism to cover it up.
This leads to the big conflict of the episode, as Gabi and Falco follow Niccolo when he retreats with the wine and confront him, telling them that they are Warriors candidates who snuck aboard the airship when it was fleeing Marley.
This, of course, tips Niccolo off and he asks the big question: “Did you kill someone? A female soldier.”
Well, any smart person would find this question odd, considering Niccolo is a Marleyan, who have pretty much all been brainwashed into hating Eldians.
This is why Falco picks up on it.
Gabi, on the other hand, oh boy, her brainwashed brain cannot take a hint.
With every word out of her mouth she keeps digging her metaphorical grave deeper and deeper.
You can really see how indoctrinated Gabi is, as she almost seems to be seeking praise from Niccolo, a Marleyan, for killing Sasha.
However, praise is certainly what Niccolo has in mind.
No, he’d much rahter perfer a wine bottle smash to the skull for her.
It’s Falco who takes the blow, though, jumping in front of Gabi and taking the hit but also ingesting the wine.
The soundtrack during this scene is also straight up fire.
Niccolo is much more focused on Gabi than the injured Falco, delivering her a beating off screen, before throwing her before the Braus family and exposing her as Sasha’s killer.
It’s here that the best voice acting of the episode is showcased.
Ayane Sakura again does a magnificent job as Gabi but Eji Hanawa steals the show as Niccolo, who mournfully and furiously explains how Sasha saved him from this war and taught him that he was supposed to make people happy with his food.
Gabi hits back by telling him of the people Sasha killed, claiming that it is actually she who brainwashed him, ironic coming from her.
Mr Braus understandably looks sickened to hear such a despicable thing about his daughter and requests the knife from Niccolo.
The terrified eye movements of Gabi and Mr Braus’ contemplative face here, almost as if he is considering actually killing Gabi in an act of revenge, are animated incredibly well.
However, revenge is not what Mr Braus ultimately wants, as he shows exceptional maturity for a mere side character, giving one of the best speeches of the series about how, as adults, it is their burden to carry and move on from their sins to get the children out of the forest.
The forest, in this instance, being a metaphor for the cruel world and cycle of violence that our characters struggle with daily.
With this, Mr and Mrs Braus convince Niccolo to let Falco go, followed by Mr Braus asking if Gabi is alright.
This shocks Gabi right to the core of her being, as she sees these supposed devils concerned for the very person who killed their daughter.
Well, not all of them are concerned because Kaya is already moving head first into the forest, as she attempts to stab Gabi with a knife for the death of Sasha.
Only Mikasa’s Ackerman insticts save Gabi from a knife to the head.
The animation of Kaya being tackled to the ground and comforted by Mr and Mrs Braus is just great, as well.
Mappa did a really good job with the animation this episode.
With Mikasa and Armin moving Gabi to a safer place, we then get the big reveal of the episode from Niccolo.
Zeke’s spinal fluid is in the wine, and potentially hundreds of military officers among the Military Police and Garrison are currently infected.
Zeke lied at the beginning of the episode when he said that Eldians freeze when they ingest his spinal fluid, and this lie has caused those infected to be entirely unaware of their dangerous position.
The Scouts have absolutley no time to warn everyone, though, because who else should show up but Eren and the Yeagerists, and in a much more abrupt way than in the manga.
Rather than seeing Eren enter the room that Mikasa and Armin are talking to Gabi in, like in the manga, we just hear the door close and see him casually walk up to them, bloodly hand raised in a threatening manner.
It honestly reminded me of the abrupt Reiner and Bertholdt reveal from Season Two, it’s that great.
Just as entertaining is Floch’s arrival with the Yeagerists and Hange’s slow realization that they all knew about the poisoned wine.
Floch grinning at Hange and shushing her is a real improvement on the manga, making Floch look much more sinister than he does in the original source material.
Following this, we get the naturally frustrating cliffhanger of Eren saying he wants to talk to Armin and Mikasa, only for the episode to cut off there.
Well, at least the wait might just be more than worth it because tomorrow’s episodes is about to adapt two fantastic chapters which, with time, I have come to look incredibly favourably on.
If done right, the next episode could easily be in the top ten best episodes of the series.
As for “Children of the Forest”, in my opinion, it is a near perfect adaptation.
Great shots, animation, voice acting and music, it has it all.
I do wish a couple of manga panels, like a particular flashback shot of Sasha, had been included but these are not major things and did not decrease my enjoyment of the episode.
“Children of the Forest” is a fantastic episode and I have my fingers crossed that “Savagery” can be adapted to near perfection as well.

Attack on Titan Chapter 138, A Long Dream Review: A Tragic What Could Have Been.

4 and a half stars
138 chapters, all building to this moment.
We finally got the penultimate chapter of Attack on Titan, “A Long Dream”, and, boy, is it a big one.
It’s funny looking back on my predictions posts because I can see how right or wrong about certain things I was and wow was I wrong about some certain character fates this chapter.
While thankfully not seeming as divisive as Chapter 137 was for The Attack on Titan fandom, “A Long Dream” has still made a substantial splash in the pool of various different opinions on the endgame’s quality, which is no surprise given the end of the chapter.
Some predicted it, and this chapter we seemingly got it, Mikasa just killed Eren.
Decapitated him and then spends the final chapter making out with the head.
Leave it to Isayama to make Eremika happen in the most messed up way possible.
Okay, okay, I know I’m clearly overexagerating on how far Mikasa goes in that final panel.
In all seriousness, I actually really like the scene and think that it makes a lot of sense.
Heck, it even got me tearing up at the moment when it paid off a scene from all the way back in Chapter One.
However, before we get to that, I first have to start at the beginning.
“A Long Dream” opens with the baby that was seen in one of my favourite panels in the manga, from Chapter 134, who is revealed to have survived the Rumbling at the cliff face, since the Wall Titans stopped when Levi killed Zeke last chapter.
Although, I would argue that the baby isn’t the luckiest among the group of survivors there.
No, that title goes to the random guy at the back getting pulled up by two other survivors just as the Rumbling stops.
If the Wall Titans had stopped just a second later, then this guy would be toast.
Literally the luckiest guy on earth.
From here, the chapter cuts to the aftermath of Armin going nuclear Colossal at the end of “Titans”, as Falco lands the Alliance atop Fort Salta and the Warriors are reunited with their parents.
Falco, Gabi and Pieck all reunite with their loved ones and Annie learns that her father is alive and goes to meet him.
But, this is Isayama we’re talking about, so of course this was never going to end in anything other than tragedy.
It would seem that the force of Armin’s explosion has launched the Hallucigenia into the bottom of Fort Salta, and Reiner and Armin arise from the destruction to destroy it once and for all.
However, Eren then transforms again, having survived Armin going nuclear as we all predicted, only this time he is in Colossal Titan form.
At the same time, Annie’s father and Muller have decided to work togethor, as it is predictably revealed that Muller fired into the air to calm the situation down.
Annie then shows up and their happy reunion is cut oh, so cruely short by the Hallucigenia, which Reiner sees releasing Titan smoke that will turn any Eldian who is not already a Shifter or has Ackerman blood into Titans.
This means that Jean, Connie, Gabi and all of the Warriors families are now infected.
Thinking quickly, Levi orders Mikasa and Pieck to get onto Falco so they can go and put an end to Eren.
Left behind at the Fort to Titanize, Jean and Connie embrace and reflect on their times in the Survey Corps, with Jean having adopted the mindset of leaving their legacy to those who live on for them.
Connie also jokingly tells Jean that it is his fault they got stuck with the job of saving the world, before they and all the other Eldians transform.
While this goodbye to two Survey Corps veterans is very emtional, I can’t help but wish we got an extra page of them saying their goodbyes to Mikasa and Levi, and Falco saying his goodbyes to Gabi.
I mean, I know that there wasn’t much time because they were all about to turn but we saw pretty much no reaction from Mikasa about her long-time friends being Titanized.
The scene is still great but I just wish it had a little more time spent on it to deliver a more emotional gut punch.
Another slight criticism I have is the paneling of this scene, specifically where Falco is concerned.
When they are flying away from Fort Salta, Falco screams in anguish at the loss of Gabi and his parents and this has caused many to jump to the conclusion that Falco turned everyone into a Titan with the Beast Titan’s power, which he may have recieved from Zeke’s spinal fluid.
However, this doesn’t make any sense to me.
Falco would never turn his parents or Gabi into Titans, and it also couldn’t have been by accident because he does not have the means to use Zeke’s technique, lacking royal blood.
So, it seems like this is just a case of mistaken intent and Isayama definitely should have structured this scene differently to make it clear that Falco’s scream didn’t Titanize everyone.
There is another complaint about this scene, which I have been hearing, that it is out of character for Eren to turn Jean and Connie into Titans because he wanted them to “live long lives.”
However, I believe this does make sense because it is not Eren transforming them, it is the Hallucigenia.
In Chapter 137, Zeke described the Hallucigenia as Life itself, stating that it had the sole purpose of surviving and multiplying.
Armin and Reiner had backed the Hallucigenia into a corner so it did the only thing it could to survive: turning everyone atop Fort Salta into Titans, so that they could lead it safely to Eren, where it could connect with him again.
So, this scene does work because it is not Eren doing this but the Hallucigenia.
As for Jean, Connie and Gabi, can they turn back into humans?
Well, I think Isayama could go either way in the final chapter.
Jean and Connie’s goodbye feels pretty final but it doesn’t seem to fit into Gabi’s character arc for her to just stay a Titan forever or be killed as one.
Guess we’ll just have to see what happens in Chapter 139.
I’ll admit, a part of me wants them all to stay gone for emotional impact, while the part of me that loves their characters just wants them to come back and live long lives.
Like Bertholdt, though, I feel like I can accept any outcome for them.
Annie, however, cannot accept the ending she got with her father which, in predictable Isayama fashion, seems to conclude with her father being Titanized right in front of her.
The cruel world strikes once again with Isayama as its puppet master.
That leaves Reiner, Pieck and Annie to deal with the Hallucigenia and its Titan army, and Mikasa, Levi, Armin and Falco to bring the fight to Eren at long last.
Beginning with an epic moment, where Armin accuses Eren of loving this hell and saying he will stick it out with him until the very end,the two engage in a Colossal Titan beatdown.
I can’t remember where but I’m sure that I mentioned wanting a Colossal Titan fight somewhere in an earlier predictions post and I’m so glad we finally got one near the end of the story.
As Armin and Eren duke it out and Reiner, Pieck and Annie slowly begin to be consumed as they struggle to hold the Hallucigenia back from its master, another headache hits Mikasa full swing, somehow launching her into some kind of dream world or alternate universe.
In this world, Mikasa confessed her feelings for Eren in Chapter 123 and the two ran off togethor and abandoned everyone, deciding to spend Eren’s remaining years togethor.
There has been a lot of debate online about whether this is an alternate universe or just a dream world.
Honestly, I think it’s most likely the latter because it being an alternate timeline doesn’t really make sense considering that if Eren had run off with Mikasa then he never would have convinced his father to eat the Reiss family, essentialy undoing his Titan powers all togethor.
I should note, though, that someone suggested to me that both timelines could coexist at the same time and, if this is the case, then it would allow for Eren to have manipulated Grisha into stealing the Founding Titan, while in the seperate timeline Eren ran away with Mikasa.
Still, I’m leaning towards the dream theory, mostly because of a leaked storyboard that appears to state that this is solely Mikasa’s “ideal” world and Eren.
I could entirely be wrong about this, though.
Yet, even if this is a dream, there is no denying that it is a shared one between Eren and Mikasa.
Eren’s true self seems to show up part way through the dream and tell Mikasa to throw away the scarf when he dies so she can forget about him.
This is most likely why Eren told Louise to throw away the scarf all the way back in Chapter 126.
However, this is not something Mikasa can do because, even though she now accepts what must be done, she will never let go of the memory of the man she loves.
Mikasa resolves to kill Eren, somehow knowing that Eren is in the mouth of his Colossal Titan, most likely because Eren telepathically told her through the shared dream.
With Armin holding Eren’s head in place, Levi is able to blow a hole in his Colossal teeth with a Thunder Spear, allowing Mikasa to dash in.
Eren’s head is dangling from his extended spine, as seen at the end of Chapter 131.
As Eren opens his eyes, he seems to smile at Mikasa, most likely showing how sadly happy he is that Mikasa will never forget him, despite his insistance.
Mikasa shares the smile and swings her sword.
Then, we get the big moment.
“See you later, Eren.”
We now finally know what Eren’s dream at the beginning of the story means, 138 chapters later.
He was experiencing a memory from the Attack Titan of his goodbye to Mikasa in their dream world, when Mikasa was forced to kill him.
Just like that, I tear up and move onto the final panel… only to be shaken out of any potential tears with the image of Mikasa kissing Eren’s decapitated head and Ymir looking on smiling.
Jokes aside, I see some people trying to paint Mikasa as a necrophile here but it’s pretty clear to me that she was experiencing the dream world when she kissed Eren here and this was her way of saying goodbye to him.
This also seems to all imply that Eren felt similarily towards Mikasa, as it wasn’t really clear before.
Well, this makes the chances of Eren being the father of Historia’s child significantly lower but fingers crossed that Isama can still make this happen because I think it really works for Eren’s character.
Back to the final panel of the chapter, let’s talk about Ymir watching Mikasa kiss Eren.
I believe this is important for two reasons.
The first reason is that it shows how Ymir desires love.
We saw this all the way back in Chapter 122, when she stopped to stare at two of her enslavers getting married.
The second reason it is important is that, in my opinion, it shows that Ymir is finally, truly free.
We have only seen Ymir’s eyes twice before this point and both of these times are when she is experincing freedom.
She chose to side with Eren in Chapter 122 and we saw her choose to release the pigs in Chapter 135.
Now her eyes are uncovered yet again in the last panel of “A Long Dream.”
Whatever Eren has achieved by getting Mikasa to kill him, (I do believe that was his goal given how much he tried to get her to move on from him, like by lying to her that he hated her) it has resulted in Ymir’s freedom, which may very well end with her being reborn as Historia’s child in the final panel.
As for Eren, I believe this is it for him.
His conciousness may survive in Paths, like what with happened to Ymir but, as far as the physical world is concerned, he is definitley dead there.
The final chapter will most likely cover his and Ymir’s true motivations and what they will result in for Paradis and the world.
This last chapter is rumoured to only be 45 pages, though, so I hope Isayma can wrap up his story in so little pages in a satisfying way without it feeling rushed.
Overall, “A Long Dream” is a truly fantastic chapter for Attack on Titan, and a great prelude to the final one.
I do think some things could have been better, like rearranging or removing Falco’s scream, so some readers would not be confused, and adding an extra page to give Jean, Connie and Gabi’s potential goodbyes more of an impact.
Yet, these criticisms do not change my mind that this is a fantastic chapter and I cannot wait to see how my favourite story will end next month.

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Twelve, Guides Review: The Corruption of Shinzou wo Sasageyo.

4 and a half stars
You know, I was pretty excited for Episode Twelve of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Guides.”
It was set to adapt one of the most hype scenes in the manga with Eren’s escape from prison and meeting up with Floch and the other Yeagerists, putting on his coat as the sun sets and ready to keep moving forward.
Then, the scene happens, and it’s just as epic as I hoped it would be.
So, imagine my surprise when I see people are once again harassing Mappa over their displeasure with this scene.
Well, no, I shouldn’t say surprised because I’m pretty sure these toxic people (I will not call them fans) will find something stupid to harass Mappa over pretty much every following episode.
If you didn’t like this scene, though, again, just like the people who didn’t like Chapter 137, that’s A-ok with me.
I just want certain groups of people to stop being toxic with their displeasure to the point that they are literally harassing people.
Back to the episode itself, “Guides” is directed by Kunihiro Mori and adapts most of Chapter 110 and half of Chapter 111 pretty amazingly.
Beginning with Armin checking up on Annie in the basement of a military police base, Hitch shows up just in time to stop him from going all Shinji Ikari on her.
In all seriousness, Armin’s hurried explanations to hide his crush on Annie and Hitch saying she can’t understand why Annie is popular when all she does is sleep, which is basically Isayama talking to the viewer, are both very funny.
However, the tone switches when Armin and Hitch emerge from the basement and see a rabid crowd of Eren supporters protesting his imprisonment.
Floch and the other recruits leaking the information about Eren’s escape definitley damaged the public’s faith in the military and this is only increased by what happens after.
Before this, though, we get two scenes of investigations done by Hange and Pyxis.
The first is Yelena finally cracking under the pressure and admitting to Pyxis that she met with Eren.
She tries to paint herself as a fangirl, obsessed with getting to know Eren, which, to be fair, she was, but she is not able to pull the wool over Pyxis’ eyes to hide the true extent of her and Zeke’s plans.
As Pyxis says, the only way to tell a good lie is to mix some truth in there.
Yelena revealing that she did meet with Eren leads to Hange confronting Onyankopon about this, much to his shock.
He then tells Hange about the extremes Yelena went to when it came to dealing with Marleyans who betrayed them or were at least uncertain with their plans.
This makes it unusal that she has been supportive of Marleyan rights on Paradis, Hange notes, which will play a key role in her decision at the end of the episode.
Following this scene, “Guides” cuts to one of the episode’s big moments, as Armin and Mikasa go to talk with Zackly (or is it Zachary? Oh, nevermind) about potentially speaking with Eren.
Zackly, however, is having none of it, having already given up on Eren because he and the rest of the military now believe that Eren is under Zeke’s control.
Now, Zackly plans to pass Eren’s Titan power onto someone else… after he tortures him with his magnificent work of art that is.
Yet, Zackly is smart enough not to let Mikasa in on this but Armin manages to deduce it pretty quickly.
Before Mikasa can go in and listen to Zackly’s conversation with the candidates, though, her Ackerman senses go off and she has just enough time to cover Armin, as a bomb, on Zackly’s chair of all things, explodes, killing Zackly and his candidates to replace Eren.
The military’s commander in chief’s mutilated body then splats on the ground, in full view of the protesting public but, unfortunately, not in clear view of us due to censorship.
To be fair, censorship is nothing new in Attack on Titan and the way its shot makes it clear that Zackly was torn apart by the explosion, so the horror of the moment is thankfully still kept.
Another moment that also translates well in the adaptation is the corruption of Erwin’s catchphrase “Shinzou wo Sasageyo!” translated to, “Devote Your Hearts!”
Erwin used this to rally his troops to fight for humanity, but now it is being used to rally behind a rapidly growing, naitonalist terrorist group, the aptly named Yeagerists, with Eren at its head.
Speaking of, it is here that we come back to the previously mentioned coat scene, where Eren escapes jail, along with Floch and the rest of the Yeagerists, and heads off to find Zeke.
I really like the way this scene was shot, scored, voice acted, and transitioned into the mid-card.
In my own, personal opinion, it was a perfect adaptartion for the scene.
Following the mid-card, we get the beginning of the adaptation of Chapter 111, with the hectic meeting between the military officers and Kiyomi, which quickly dissolves into arguing, mostly at the fault of the Military Police.
Thankfully, Pyxis is there to resolve the situation, and comedically suggest they surrender to Eren.
There is a serious intent behind this, though, because Pyxis realizes that with the threat of Marley and the rest of the world now faing Paradis means they cannot have infighting, so he plans to negotiate with the Yeagerists by putting Zeke’s location on the table.
Some, like Hange and Kiyomi, are clearly not as assured by this, which is made apparent for Kiyomi when she approaches Mikasa and suggests she come to her ship if things go wrong.
Mikasa cleverly confronts her about her intent to use Paradis’ resources but Kiyomi surprises her by telling Mikasa that even though she is considered a “money pinching vixen” she still has the honour to protect Mikasa for her clan.
As for Hange, her doubt about the situation is shown by her belief that there is more to Yelena and Zeke’s plans, spurned on by Yelena’s suspicious actions, like vouching for Marleyans when she was so ruthless with them before, as I mentioned earlier.
This causes her to lead the 104th to Niccolo’s restaurant to interivew him where, surprise, surpise, Gabi and Falco have just arrived with the Braus family.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the episode ends with the cliffhanger reveal of Pieck having arrived in Paradis, likely planning Marley’s surprise attack, which Reiner advocated for at the end of Episode Ten.
In my opinion, “Guides” is another fantastic episode for Attack on Titan‘s final season and Mappa are doing a great job, especially when you consider the rough production schedule they are suffering through.
Sure, some of the shots in the episode, like one of Mikasa running, do look a little off but they are nowhere near as offputting as Pyxis’ Megamind head in “A Sound Argument.”
The one big criticism I do have about the animation is a continutiy mistake where Eren is shown in his Yeagerist outfit in a flashback.
However, this could potentially be fixed in the Blu-Ray.
All in all, “Guides” is another great episode that adapts one of Attack on Titan‘s best hype moments very well.

Attack on Titan Chapter 138 Predictions.

We’re less than a week away from getting the penultimate chapter of Attack on Titan, Chapter 138, so it’s time for me to lay out my predictions yet again.
The previous chapter was… let’s just say divisive.
Personally, I enjoyed it, despite having a couple of issues.
However, many people took their personal dislike of it as a sign to start doomposting, saying that the ending was assured to be as bad as Game of Thrones Season Eight when we haven’t even got the ending yet.
Despite the controversy, I have seen so many different theories on how Attack on Titan will wrap up in these last two chapters and, make no mistake, I think Chapter 138 is going to be the chapter where the big plot twist happens.
“Titans” ended with the Alliance supposedly defeating Eren, so, with the fighting now over, it would be the perfect time for Isayama to drop a twist before the ending.
The reason I think we’re getting a twist at all?
Well, because two important characters’ point of view on this whole situation have been absent not only for the entirety of the final battle but for pretty much all of the final arc as well.
These two characters are Eren and Historia.

Will we Finally get Eren and Historia’s POV?

Like many other readers, I am 100% certain that Eren is not dead after Chapter 137.
Isayama just wouldn’t have his main character, and now main antagonist, killed off screen after he has been absent from the entirety of the final battle.
No, Eren is definitley alive, at least for now, and I think Chapter 138 is the perfect time to reveal his full POV.
What he really saw when he kissed Historia’s hand four years ago, his and Ymir’s true intentions in starting the Rumbling (if they have any that we don’t already no of), and how all of this will tie into the ending.
As for Historia, I believe her POV is intertwined with Eren’s.
There’s something up with her pregnancy and, whether Eren is the father or not, the point of this baby will be crucial for the ending, especially since the final panel of the entire story is most likely going to be someone holding her baby.
Chapter 138 might just be the chapter where Isayama reveals everything behind Eren, Historia, and Ymir’s actions.
Going back to the baby, though, we now have to talk about one of the biggest theories created from Chapter 137.

Is Historia’s Child the Key to Restarting the Rumbling?

It would seem that the subreddit r/titanfolk is using this theory as copium to deal with their displeasure of Chapter 137 and, I will admit, there is some evidence behind this theory.
All the way back in the Return to Shiganshina Arc, Eren revealed through Kruger’s memories that if a Titan Shifter is killed, before they can pass on their power, then it will go to a random Eldian baby.
Well, Zeke just died last chapter and Historia is conviently about to give birth.
So, if Eren really is still in Paradis, controlling his Titan with a Warhammer Cable, as some, including myself, have previously predicted, then he could just go see Historia, and use her child, which would have the Beast Titan’s powers and now be a Titan of royal blood, to restart the Rumbling.
The first time I heard this theory, I thought it was a definite possibility and would be a cool way for Isayama to have Eren win in the end.
However, the more I thought about it and the more counterpoints I heard, I am pretty unsure of it.
For starters, what would be the point of all the sacrifices the Alliance have made and the character development they have had just for them to be beaten like this at the end?
Also, as many have pointed out, Eren was heavily against Historia’s child being used as a pawn, yet now he’s going to use that child in a similar way to which he was against earlier?
Maybe Isayama could find a way to write around these problems and this could be the ending we get but, honestly, I find this theory to be pretty unlikely now.

Alternate Universe Ending Theory.

As the series has been getting closer and closer to its end, I have seen more and more dreaded alternate universe ending theories popping up.
I say “dreaded” because the alternate universe theory would be the worst ending possible, in my opinion.
Either Eren comes from the high school au and transported himself and everyone he knows into the Attack on Titan world, or Eren finds a way to transport everyone from his world into the high school au.
Either way, I really, really, really don’t like this theory.
If Eren took away everyone from their peaceful lives and put them in the hellish world of Attack on Titan then there goes any sympathy I had for his character.
If Eren transports everyone into the High School AU then what’s the point of getting emotional whenever I read the story again, since I know that none of this matters because everyone’s just going to be reborn into a happier life?
Not to mention that the only build up for this is a small panel of Mikasa and Armin from the High School AU in Eren’s memory fragments, which is nowhere near enough needed to justify this ending.
Whatever ending we get, I really hope it is not the alternate universe one.

Helos Ending Theory.

Ok, so now we arrive at the ending theory that I find to be the most likely.
However, I’m not too sure how well the fandom would react to this because of its similarities to Code Geass. 
Now, I’ve wanted Attack on Titan to have its own orginal ending for a while so have mostly been against Eren pulling a Lelouch.
However, I do think Isayama could twist this enough to at least make it semi-original.
This theory is that Eren started the Rumbling to give the Alliance the chance to destroy the Hallucigenia, ending the Titan powers once and for all, and becoming heroes to the world, potentially saving Paradis from destruction.
Hear me out because I think there is quite a bit of build up for this, specifically with Reiner.
For starters, Reiner has often been associated with Helos imagery, like in Chapter 117 when Magath is talking about Helos and there needing to be a hero to save the world, which is literally placed over a panel of Reiner.
Then there’s Reiner tackling the Hallucigenia and holding it back from Eren’s head in Chapter 137, which looks suspciously like the statue of Helos killing the Devil of All Earth from the Marley Arc.
This would also fit in with Reiner’s character arc, with him finally becoming the hero he wanted to be as a child but gave up on after realizing all of the horrible things he had done.
Whether Reiner or Eren dies from this, I am uncertain.
However, I am certain that, if this happens, it will result in a final confrontation between Mikasa and Eren, most likely causing the “See you later, Eren” scene, which was foreshadowed all the way back in Chapter 1.
This being Eren’s plan could also explain some of the inconsistencies in the final battle.
The Warhammer Titan didn’t remove the explosives from Eren’s nape because Eren wanted the Alliance to expose the Hallucigenia and kill it.
The Rumbling stopped when Zeke was killed because Eren had Ymir actually make it tied to his royal blood.
The Alliance defeated Eren with no casulaties because Eren let them win, not wanting to hurt them and also painting them as heroes to save them and Paradis.
With the Alliance becoming heroes to the world, this could create a tense peace.
However, notice the use of the word “tense” because I think it would be against what Isayama has set up in Attack on Titan for there to be instant, unanimous peace.
One of the main themes of Attack on Titan is that the world is cruel but beautiful and I think this is how it will be with the ending if this theory does happen.
There will still be tension and racism between Eldians and the rest of the world but there will also be hope.
Hope most likely held togethor by people like Historia and Kiyomi, who might work to save Paradis in the aftermath of the Rumbling by using diplomacy, since all of the military leaders in Paradis are now dead, effectively leaving Historia in charge, and Kiyomi now wants to make ammends for her actions playing a part in the Rumbling’s beginnings.
There’s also the idea that destroying the Hallucigenia will destroy the Paths, freeing Ymir and causing her to be reborn as Historia’s child.
So, despite its similarities to Code Geass’ ending, I think Isayama could actually pull this kind of ending off with his own unique spin to it.

How Will the Final Panel Occur?

So with all of these theories laid out, the question is, “how will the final panel that Isayama teased result from these potential endings?”
Well, this is another reason to rule the alternate universe theory out because someone holding a baby and saying that they’re free would make no sense in a high school au where nothing previously mattered.
The other two ending theories, though, do have possibilities to tie into the final panel, three possibilities in fact.
Number one: Eren survives somehow and is the one holding the baby at the end, telling them that they are free.
Number two: Eren dies in the real world but his soul stays inside the Paths somehow and he is holding the baby from there.
If the baby is Ymir reborn then Eren telling her that she is free would also be the perfect way to conclude things.
Finally, number three: the final panel is a flashback to Eren’s birth and Grisha is the one telling him that he is free, not only redeeming himself for how he raised Zeke, but also instilling Eren’s drive for freedom, which he had for his entire life.
Those are the three options that I think we have for the final panel right now.
I’m excited to see if I am right about this or if Isayama has something else in mind.
Before that, though, we have to read Chapter 138, which, as I’ve stated, will most likely be the chapter where we get the final big plot twist of the story before the ending in Chapter 139.
I can’t wait to see what happens.

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Eleven, Deceiver Review: Oh, Boy! Here I go Killing Again!

4 stars
Oh, Gabi, Gabi, Gabi.
Why must you further enrage the Attack on Titan community?
Even though I think Gabi is a great character, I did find myself wanting to slap her in the eleventh episode of the Final Season, “Deceiver”, although that was pretty much the point.
Directed by Teruyuki Ōmine, the episode title refers to many characters, from Floch, to Reiner, to Zeke, to Kaya, to, of course, Gabi and Falco, who are the main decievers of the episode.
This is made clear right from the get-go, as Gabi fakes a seizure to lure a guard into her and Falco’s cell and beat him unconcious with a rock so they can escape… or at least it was implied that he was unconcious in the manga.
Curiously, in the anime they decided to make it abundantly clear that Gabi had killed the guy, who Falco clearly points out was trying to help her.
Gabi goes even further, planning to kill Kaya if she doesn’t buy into her cover story, when the girl stumbles across her and Falco.
She even actually does attempt to kill her, when she learns that Kaya herself was deceiving them because she knew they were from Marley the whole time.
I’ve seen someone use the Rick and Morty “Oh, boy! Here I go killing again!” gag to describe Gabi and it’s funny because it’s absolutley true.
Despite this, I still don’t hate Gabi.
Again, I did want to slap her when she was blaming Kaya, her mother, and their ancestors for all of their suffering but I still know that Gabi is a brainwashed girl, indoctrinated by Marleyan propaganda.
In any case, she seems to have suffered the first blow to this indoctrination in “Deciever” through experiencing kindness from Sasha’s family, with neither Gabi nor Sasha’s parents knowing that she killed their daughter, and Kaya logically breaking apart Gabi’s arguments about the Eldians supposed sins before tearfully demanding an answer.
This results in the final blow for Gabi’s first pillar of indoctrination by the end of the episode, as Kaya offers to help Gabi and Falco get back to Marley by taking them to see Niccolo because she knows that Sasha would help them and she wants to be just like her.
Following this emotional moment, we get the post credits scene of Reiner and the rest of the Warriors beginning to plan their attack on Paradis.
This continued one of the earliest scenes in the episode, where Reiner woke up and demanded to know where Gabi and Falco were.
Reiner may have been suicidal earlier but now he has a new purpose that keeps him living: rescuing Gabi and Falco.
This causes him to criticize Magath’s plan to wait six months for Marley and the other countires of the world to create a global alliance to attack Paradis because Zeke would have undoubtedly made a plan by then.
His announcement that they need to launch a surprise attack on Paradis immediately makes for quite the cliffhanger.
Also, it is pretty funny that the shot cuts to him when Porco wonders how Zeke could have betrayed them.
Reiner’s own sins as a deceiver are always right in front of him, with him constantly being reminded of them through one way or another.
Speaking of reminders, Hange is forced to remember how the corrupt Sannes told her that she would basically be taking his place eventually all the way back in Season Three.
Whereas once Hange fought to let the people know everything the government was hiding from them in the Uprising Arc, she now has to lie to them until she knows all the info that there is, bringing more distrust down on her and the new government.
This is not helped by Floch and a bunch of recruits leaking information about Eren’s arrest.
Now that Floch has seen Eren acting like a devil, just like Erwin, he is fully on his team, a stark contrast to how he was against him at the end of The Return to Shiganshina Arc, showing just how much Floch perception of Eren has chanhged over the four year time skip.
It’s not just Floch, though, because many others are on the side of Eren, including Louise, the girl Mikasa saved all the way back in Season One.
Now devoted to following Eren, based on Mikasa’s example, Louise’s dedication in spite of military law causes Mikasa to remember Eren saving her all those years ago, through a mysterious headache.
However, Eren saving Mikasa is now painted in an even darker lens than it already was in that first season.
Eren has always been capable of committing atrocities and this flashback makes it very clear, even though the people who kidnapped Mikasa and killed her parents pretty much deserved it for what they did.
Along with Floch and Louise, there’s also Yelena, who is almost certainly involved in Eren’s schemes, based on Pyxis’ findings, yet, so far, she’s keeping her mouth closed.
There are a lot of decievers in this episode, making the title quite fitting, which is funny because it was actually swapped with the next episode’s title “Guides.”
While “Deceiver” does fit nicely for this episode, I wonder if “Guides” will end up doing so for Episode Twelve, considering that I can’t quite think of a way in which that title will suit its events.
Either way, “Deciever” is still a really good episode of Attack on Titan. 
Not only does it have some great, emotional scenes for many of the titular decievers, but it also came with some fantastic animation, especially for the backgrounds.
The episode did make me want to slap Gabi but, again, I’m pretty sure that’s the point.

Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Ten, A Sound Argument Review: Historia’s Sacrifice.

please fucking work
I remember reading Chapter 107 of Attack on Titan and feeling quite disappointed with the direction Hajime Isayama took Historia’s character.
To me, the idea of her sacrificing herself and any children she would have went against everything that her character development in the Uprising Arc was about, so to see her pregnant for this sacrifice plan really did not sit well with me. 
Thankfully, with the benefit of hindsight as a manga reader, I now look on this scene, and the potential it has for the end of the story, a lot more favourably. 
Historia’s sidelining after this point, though? 
Well, I am pretty sure that I will always believe that was a mistake. 
In any case, Episode Ten of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “A Sound Argument”, adapts both Chapter 107 and 108 well, albeit with a few hiccups.
Directed by Kaori Makita, the episode follows up on the serious cliffhanger from “Brave Volunteers”, which featured Eren standing in front of a mirror in his jail cell and proclaiming that he has to fight.
This is continued in the episode with a not so serious beginning, as Hange interrupts Eren’s talk with himself and humorously comments on it. 
I had honesty forgotten how funny Hange could be but seeing her scenes adapted in the anime really drove it home for me, especially with this scene. 
Just take a shot everytime she says “fight” during this conversation. 
You will pass out in a matter of seconds. 
It’s not all humorous, though, as Hange switches to serious, reminiscing on her talk with Eren about Titans, all the way back in Season One, and how he let her ramble on and on about pointless things. 
However, these happy times are no more, unfortunately showcased by Hange’s next line about how she believed Eren would never sacrifice Historia. 
From there, the episode delves into the flashback that puts Zeke’s supposed plan to save Eldia into motion. 
This comes from a flashback of the Volunteers introducing Paradis to an ally, Kiyomi Azumabito from the nation of Hizuru. 
It is through this flashback of her meeting those on Paradis that we learn not only the effect Zeke’s plan will have on Historia but also of Mikasa’s “importance” to Hizuru as well. 
It is revealed that Mikasa in actually the descendant of a lost Shogun from Hizuru and thus essential to the nation. 
This is proven through a tattoo Mikasa has on her hand. 
Now, while my opinion about Historia’s pregnancy in the manga has become more positived of the years, my opinion on this scene has not, and the anime makes its reveal a little more problematic. 
Mikasa being the descendant of a long lost Shogun always felt a little too convient to me, what with five Titan Shifters and the heir to the throne all coincidentally coming from the same training corps. 
Not onlt this but Mikasa being important to Hizuru has so far amounted to absolutley nothing in the manga. 
The anime makes this reveal even weaker with how its revealed, although that is not be entirely Mappa’s fault. 
You see, Mikasa having this tattoo should have been set up all the way back in Season One but, for whatever reason, Wit decided to remove it. 
So, now that the tattoo is revealed in this episode, it has absolutley no buildup and feels like a retcon. 
Following this reveal, we get a brief happy scene with Historia, where she is excited for Mikasa being important because it means she has someone to relate to. 
Eren then slides in all smooth and comments that Historia looks happy, to which she replies that she is.
You know, just to drive the knife deeper into her hearts when she looks so unhappy with her pregnancy later in the episode.
The plan for this pregnancy is revealed in the flashback by Kiyomi, who reveals that Zeke gained her trust by gifting her with ODM Gear, which he got from Mike, who he gruesomely murdered all the way back in Season Two.
With the Ice Burst fuel as a resource, Zeke gives Hizuru a reason to get in bed with Paradis: profit.
This causes Mikasa to realize she is a pretext pretty easily and it is following this that Kiyomi reveals Zeke’s plan to save Eldia but also sacrifice Historia and her descendants.
Paradis will need 50 years to catch up with the rest of the world’s military technology and, in order for the island not to be attacked during that time, the threat of the Rumbling must be maintained. 
Therefore, the Founding Titan and a Titan of royal blood must be passed down, meaning that Historia must have children who will then be sacrificed to the same fatal cycle that her family subjected themselves to for centuries, which, again, goes completley against all of Historia’s character development. 
Historia agrees to this nonetheless and this is where Eren steps in, furiously proclaiming that Zeke can take his plan and shove it. 
Eren’s reaction is a lot more volitle than it was in the manga here and I am personally all for that. 
This violence is then continued when the episode cuts back to the present and Eren angrily attacks Hange, after telling her that since he has the Warhammer Titan, he can escape anytime he wants. 
Eren furiously demands to know if Hange has some kind of backup plan, as Titan marks and sparks briefly flash up his face. 
Hange backs off, playing off Eren’s lunge as a perverted move, before showing the audience how she feels depressed about the state of things, as she tells herself that Erwin made a terrible choice making her Commander.
After this scene, we get the big reveal of Historia’s pregnancy, with her looking dead inside, and a mysterious farmer telling her she needs to take better care of herself. 
This farmer is apparently the father, according to members of the Military Police, including Nile, who are shown enjoying some wine togethor, before one drunk guy starts committing blasphemy by degrading Historia. 
In all seriousness, this part of the episode was another problem I had with Historia’s pregnancy in the manga. 
Historia just gets togethor with a random farmer who we have never seen and have no reason to care about, and also bullied her as a child, contributing to her suicidal ideology when we first met her in the story? 
If the farmer is the father then, in my own opinion, this reveal was pretty poorly done. 
However, notice that I said “if” because there are a lot of signs for this being a red herring. 
Some of these signs, like Historia being said to have never married the farmer and also a panel of a mysterious, hooded figure watching Historia talk to the farmer, were cut in the actual episode. 
Still, there are enough signs to make anime only viewers question it, just like us manga readers did. 
Only time will tell if we are reading too much into these supposed signs or not.
One thing that is made explicitly obvious rather than just a sign, though, is Niccolo with the wine. 
In the manga, this moment was subtle and some people did not pick up on it. 
In the episode, however, Niccolo giving the Military Police officers the wine is highlighted by dark lighting and threatening music. 
It makes it very obvious that something is up with the wine and I do wish it had been kept more subtle. 
After this obvious scene, we get yet another flashback, to one of the last times Eren and his friends were truly happy, as they built a railway togethor, accompanied by a humorous background moment of Armin trying to stop Sasha from drinking all their water. 
Levi and Hange show up, giving us another funny moment when levi is offended by how much taller the 104th has become, before Hange delivers the bad news that Hizuru is not willing to help Paradis negotiate with other nations because it wants their resources. 
This most likely means they will have to sacrifice Historia, something that is already happening in the present time of the episode. 
Yet, Hange has not given up hope and suggests sneaking into Marley to try and make connections because surveying is what the Scouts are all about. 
This excites many of the 104th as they ride back on the train, which leads into a heart warming scene of them all discussing who should get Eren’s Titan when his 13 years are up. 
Mikasa volunteers first but Jean counters this because she is still important to Hizuru and they don’t know if the Ackermans can become Titans. 
Jean then says he would be best but Connie also counters this by saying he is too important and offers to take on the burden himself. 
Next comes Sasha, who tells Connie that he is too much of an idiot to handle the responsibility, so she will do it, even though she doesn’t want to. 
Connie fires back, declaring that she is just as much of an idiot as he is. 
This leads to them both proving themselves idiots, as they comedically state, “Eh?” to each other in confusion. 
Eren breaks this comedy by deciding he will not give the Titan to any of them because he wants them all to live long lives, leading to a whole lot of embarrassed blushing among the 104th, to which Armin blames on the sun after Jean yells at Eren about it. 
Following this happy, heart warming flashback, it cuts back to the darker times where Mikasa, Armin, Connie and Jean are all reflecting on Eren’s actions, which lead to Sasha’s death. 
Connie is particularly angered about this because of Eren laughing when he got the news, not aware that this is how he handles grief, and says they may have to cut Eren down if it comes down to it, which horrifies Mikasa.
Armin also says that the military may be planning to give Eren’s Founding Titan to someone they can trust, as the episode ends with shots of a suspicious looking Eren in his jail cell and even more suspicious Zeke at his “hotel”, still under careful watch from Levi.
Overall, “A Sound Argument” is a decent episode of Attack on Titan. 
There are some great moments, like Eren and Hange’s scene and the flashback between the 104th. 
However, some things I personally didn’t really like from the manga, like Mikasa’s convient importance that is actually not all that important, are kept and sometimes made weaker. 
There are also a few animation issues here and there, like Pyxis’ bulbous head, which had a lot of people comparing him to Megamind.  
Still, all in all, “A Sound Argument” is an enjoyable episode.