Coming into Episode 24 of Attack on Titan’s Final Season, “Pride”, directed by Kazuo Miyake I was very interested to see what the anime only viewers’ reaction to it would be.
This is because “Pride” is one of the most controversial chapters in the entire manga, being so divisive that it caused people to become concerned about the future ending’s quality.
Honestly, I’m on the side of the readers who found the chapter to have more negatives than positives.
Yet, despite this, I was still intrigued to see whether the anime only viewers would overall like this episode, be divided, or hate it.
From what I have seen so far, I can almost certainly state that most anime only viewers enjoyed this episode.
I have heard some concerns among them but, all in all, the reception does seem to be on the positive side, making my negative opinion on this episode’s writing in the minority.
It is my intent with this review to back up my own negative opinion, so that I can explain the issues I and others have with this episode to any anime only viewers who potentially stumble across this review.
Not to sway them over to a negative side, because I am glad they enjoyed an episode I could not, but to at least help them understand some of our criticisms.
With that out of the way, I will get into the review, however, on a positive note.
Yes, despite not liking “Pride”, it does still have some good moments and the opening scene is one of these.
It depicts the aftermath of Hange’s escape with Levi from Zeke, Floch and the Jeagerists.
Hange and Levi are being hunted by some of the Jeagerists but Hange manages to get the upper hand and kills the both of them, a tear falling from her eye as she does so.
That last detail is a fantastic showcase of the moral complexity of this whole situation, as Hange now has to kill her own people to protect herself and Levi.
Once this is done, she sets about tending to Levi’s wounds and building a transport for him, during which she and Levi see Eren’s message to all other Eldians about the destruction of the world.
At this moment, Levi wakes up and it is at this moment that I was disappointed to see a detail from the manga being left out, this being the explanation of how Levi survived the Thunder Spear explosion Zeke caused.
In the manga, we see in a flashback that, at the last moment, Levi jumped atop his sword to shield himself from the impact, causing shards of his sword to cut into his face.
However, this explanation is removed from the anime, with the only excuse for Levi’s survival being that he is an Ackerman, which was also in the manga but it makes a lot more sense when paired with the explanation of Levi covering himself with his sword.
Back to the scene at hand, Hange and Levi both realize they cannot just sit back on the sidelines, and it is then that the scene transitions to the two’s negotation with Magath and Pieck, as Levi tells them his main goal is to find and kill Zeke, who Hange speculates is with Eren.
At first, Magath threatens Levi and Hange, seeing Levi’s weakened state, but relents upon seeing Levi’s resolve.
Hange then offers an alliance with Magath and Pieck to stop Eren from destroying the world, and it is here that my issues start to come in.
For starters, we do not see what led Hange to come to the conclusion that they all needed to team up with the Warriors.
I’m not saying that it doesn’t make sense for her character because it does but a little explanation for how her thought process was going would have been nice.
Not only this but as soon as Hange offers this alliance the scene cuts.
What were Pieck and Magath’s reaction to her offer at first?
Did they agree quickly or need more convincing?
How does Levi feel about this whole thing?
These are questions that are not answered because the majority of the Alliance’s forming is left entirely off screen.
The Warriors and the Scouts have such a damaged relationship after killing one another for years, so any alliance formed between them would be wrought with tension that would have been great to see.
Too bad we just constantly cut away to bad subplots that feel like massive wastes of time.
Case and point, the Connie and Falco subplot, my second least favourite subplot in Attack on Titan.
Aside from memers, did anyone really care about Connie’s quest to save his mother here?
The literal end of the world is happening, we have no time to focus on this pointless journey that was clearly never going to end in any way other than Connie changing his mind.
It’s clearly building to that right from the moment that Connie is having his own inner conflict on the matter, the night before he and Falco finally reach Ragako.
Then we just get an awkward joke about brushing Titan teeth before Armin and Gabi run in to save Falco and innevitably do when Armin takes a gamble inspired by Commander Erwin’s previous ones.
This makes Connie come to his senses and decide to become a soldier his mother would have been proud of.
Credit where it is due, this is some solid character development for Connie that ties into the title of the episode.
But, again, we really did not have time for this when the end of the world is happening.
This should have been time spent building up the alliance, which was sorely needed.
What makes it worse is that this was clearly one of the main points of the Connie subplot.
Isayama used it to move Connie and Armin to the right palce, where they could meet up with Annie again.
The issue with this is that such potential for alliance build up is squandered, when all we get from Annie reuniting with Armin and Connie is an out of place pie joke, before the scene once again cuts away.
All we are left with is a scene of Hitch reading a letter from Annie, saying that she has decided to go with Connie and Armin.
Sure would have been nice to see that happen.
Not to mention that Connie laughing at Annie eating a pie just feels weird.
I have heard some defend this moment, explaining that Connie has always laughed during tense situations, like when Bertholdt transformed into the Colossal Titan during the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
While that does make sense, what undermines this is the fact that Connie’s lax attitude towards Annie just does not match with Episode 17, “Judgement”, where he mentioned he was angry at her for betraying them.
It just does not add up.
Out of place comedy being used instead of actual character conflict is another massive issue I have with this episode.
At least there were a few minor details which improved this scene from the manga, like the fantastic transition to the scene from Floch cheering “Shinzou wo Sasageo”, and a cut from the manga I am actually supportive of, this being the cut moment of Gabi joking around with Falco.
The reason I am glad this was removed is because it makes no sense for this to happen when Falco is mourning the death of his brother.
Speaking of which, I am still disappointed that we do not get to see Falco wrestling with his feelings about Colt’s death since, you know, it was his own unwilling Titan transformation that killed him.
Unfortunately, the bad Connie subplot leading to the poorly handled Annie meet up is not the end of the episode’s problems because I now have to talk about the Mikasa and Louise scene, another moment that has caused an argument between those who like “Pride” and those who do not.
The scene in question sees Mikasa track down a dying Louise to find that it was her who took her scarf.
Louise talks about how she wanted to wear the scarf to feel close to Mikasa, saying that Eren wanted the scarf thrown away, only for Mikasa to not give a damn, demand the scarf back, then storm off when she has it.
To me, Mikasa is incredibly unlikeable in this scene, being so dismissive of the dying girl who looks up to her.
I have seen those who like the episode defend Mikasa’s actions, pointing out that Louise is part of an extremist group, stole the scarf, and Mikasa does not owe her anything.
While all of these things are true, I still cannot help but think that this scene does Mikasa’s character a disservice because of the very first scene Louise appeared in, all the way back in Season One.
In Louise’s first appearance, Mikasa saves her and her mother from a Titan, for which the two are grateful and this makes Mikasa happy, before reminding her of her own family.
So, you’re telling me that in Louise’s first scene Mikasa is glad to have saved her and is reminded of her family, only to then be so cruel to Louise when she is literally dying in front of her?
Another thing people have pointed out is that Louise’s devotion to Mikasa causes her to revaluate her devotion to Eren but I would like to ask where that is shown?
Honestly, I think the whole Louise subplot could be removed and nothing would have changed.
Remove the Connie subplot too while we’re at it because, if both of those subplots were gone, then it would have given the story much more time to develop the alliance properly.
Although, I will say that the scenes after these poor ones are much better in quality.
For starters, there is the best scene of the episode with the rescue of Jean, Yelena and Onyankopon from the Jeagerists.
Both Jean and Onyankopon’s characterization in this scene is excellent.
First there is Onyankopon, who rightly calls out the Jeagerists for their hypocrisy and expresses his own grief over his soon to be loss of his homeland and family.
Then there is Jean, who organizes the rescue operation, joining the Alliance to honour Marco’s memory.
Jean and Onyankopon are the best characters in an episode that does a lot of other ones no favours.
As the rescue plan of having Pieck retrieve Jean, Yelena and Onyankopon from the Jeagerists unfolds, we see that the rest of the Alliance is leaving Shiganshina, with Annie and Mikasa having reuinted off screen.
Again, I would have loved to have seen that, especially since the last time they saw one another they were trying to kill each other.
Well, at least the scene where they escape from Shiganshina does include the moment when Annie sees a mysterious figure watching them, the outcome to which I am eagerly anticipating to see play out over the next few episodes.
Then, we get the final scene of “Pride”, which is, without a doubt, the most controversial moment of the episode, when Reiner is awoken by the alliance and told they need to go save the world.
Que the Avengers music.
Personally, this scene has never really bothered me that much because I like how it ties into Reiner’s character arc.
His initial motivation was to save the world but it only lead to him comitting atrocities, causing him to have massive PTSD.
Now, he is being offered the chance to redeem himself by actually saving the world this time.
I think if the scene had focused on this rather than the cheesy avengers formation of the alliance, then it would have been much better received.
Overall, Episode 24 adapts one of the weakest chapters of the manga into what I think is one of the weakest episodes of the series.
It is not Mappa’s fault, since the writing is the problem here.
In fact, I think Mappa did quite a good job, with some great shots, like the reflecton of Connie and Falco in the sword, along with making me realize just how loud the Rumbling would be when we see the characters trying to sleep.
In conclusion, my biggest problem with this alliance formation episode is the constant cutting away from that formation in favour of poorly written subplots and out of place humor.
Although, I will say that the writing for the alliance does get much better going forward (a few questionable instances aside), especially in the next episode.
So, look forward to that.
The first thing I want to talk about in the manga spoilers section is the Mikasa and Louise subplot.
I gave some harsh criticism to this storyline back there and the reason for this is in large part due to my disappointment at the lost potential, something that I have noticed a lot in regards to Mikasa’s character in general.
One of the biggest missed oppurtunities with her character is definitley her connection with Louise.
Imagine if Mikasa actually cared about Louise and mentored her, eventually coming to feel like she is to blame for her joining the Jeagerists.
This could have created some great character development for her.
What’s more, imagine if, instead of Louise just dying because of a random Thunder Spear, she actually takes part in the upcoming port battle in a future episode and Mikasa either has to kill her to protect the plane or sees her die at someone else’s hand.
Wracked with guilt, she could then retrieve the scarf from Louise’s body, making her actually revaluate her devotion to Eren, having seen the lows this devoition brought Louise to.
But no, instead we just have Louise being devoted to Mikasa, who does not care at all, even when the poor girl is dying, and not having any realization surrounding her devotion to Eren, despite the similarities.
Coming back to the port battle though, we can expect to see that in Episode 27 because it has seemingly been confirmed that each of the following episodes for the second part of Attack on Titan‘s final season will only adapt a single chapter.
I have very mixed feelings about this because I just don’t think that some of these chapters are long enough to justify a single episode, like Episode 26 “Traitor” for example.
I fear they may try to pad these episodes out with large recaps, really slowing down the pacing.
Although, this concern may turn out to be false, so I will admit to that if it turns out to be the case.
It also does not like we will be getting Chapter 131 adapted in this part of the Final Season like I suspected either, so does that mean no Chapter 123 flashback as well?
Will we be seeing those in a movie or a Final Season Part 3?
Only time will tell.