The twenty first episode of Attack on Titan’s final season, “From You, 2000 Years Ago”, was quite the surprise for me.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did.
This is because the ending to the manga rectontextualized the chapter this episode adapts in a negative way for me, making it a lot less enjoyable.
However, despite this problem still being there in some instances, I actually loved this episode.
But, I am getting ahead of myself.
My criticisms for the future recontextualization of this episode will be left for the manga spoiler section down below and this half of the review will be spoiler free for the future of the story.
Directed by Naoki Matsuura, the episode begins by adapting the rest of Chapter 121, by first showing the fight between Grisha and Freida, which ended with Grisha killing her and the entire Reiss family, except for Rod.
Then, as expected, given how the rest of the episodes have started in the Final Season’s second half, we get a brief recap of the last scene of Episode Twenty, seeing Grisha’s reconcilation with Zeke again, leading to Zeke being thrown back into Paths with a chained Eren.
Zeke is horrifed at Eren’s manipulation of Grisha, stating that Eren showed Grisha something from the future that convinced him to pass on the Founding and Attack Titan.
Eren confirms this, before going on to state that he saw his own future all the way back in the Season Three finale, when he kissed Historia’s hand.
For those who watched this episode and are still confused about how this works, I’ll give a brief expanation.
Basically, Historia’s royal blood allowed Eren to get a better look at Grisha’s memory of killing the Reiss family.
However, because Grisha was then being manipulated by Eren and seeing his future memories, it allowed Eren at the moment when he kissed Historia’s hand to see these memories of what he would eventually do in the future.
This is another moment of geniux writing from Isayama, recontextualizing the Season Three finale perfectly by connecting it to the past and future.
Back to talking about Eren and Zeke in the Paths, Eren tells Zeke that when he kissed Historia’s hand he saw a “sight.”
This is where a curious change from the manga comes into play here.
In the original Chapter 121, when Eren mentions this “sight,” he looks like he cannot wait to see it, while in this episode he looks depressed when he says it.
I will get into the potential reason for this change down in the manga spoilers section.
Despite Eren looking depressed when he mentions the “sight,” it naturally does not lessen Zeke’s fears, only heightens them, causing him to demand that Ymir sterilize all Eldians at once.
She turns to do so and Eren, in a panic, rips himself free from the chains holding him down, with some great screaming from Yuki Kaji.
As Eren runs to grab a hold of Ymir, Zeke tells him that no one can stop the Founder Ymir once she has begun to move.
One opening credits scene later, and we get the adaptation of my former favourite chapter of Attack on Titan, “From You, 2000 Years Ago,” which depicts Ymir’s backstory.
It starts off with a brief flashback to Freida reading a young Historia the book about Ymir, describing her as a girl who is kind because she’s always thinking of others.
This brief scene is nice to compare Mappa and WIT’s differing style, as it also appeared in Season Three.
Along with this, it leads into Ymir’s backstory well, which shows that, despite constantly thinking of others, Ymir’s life was not a good one.
This is first proven with the the scene of Ymir’s village being raided by a group of barbarians, who enslave its people and cut out their tongues.
After this horrific treatment, Ymir sees two people kissing, showing her longing for human connection, and this is followed up by the leader of the barbarians, Fritz, declaring that one of the slaves has set a pig free.
He demands that the slaves identify the culprit or everyone else will lose an eye.
Whether she did it or not, Ymir is thrown under the bus, with thirteen fingers pointing at her, representing the life span of Titan Shifters.
Since Ymir has no tongue now, she cannot even defend herself and has to resort to bowing to Fritz, who sarcastically tells her that she is “free,” before having her hunted down like a wild animal.
With one eye gouged out, and multiple arrows in her body, Ymir flees until she comes across a gigantic tree, which she seeks refuge in, only to fall into a pit of water and begin to drown.
Just as she is about to die, a strange spine-like creature rises up and merges with her, making Ymir the first Titan.
Many years later, Ymir is still a slave for Fritz, unfortunately.
It gets worse for her when Fritz tells Ymir he will give her his “seed,” to which Ymir looks absolutley miserable, understandably so.
We then get a montage of Ymir bearing Fritz’s children, while his Eldian Empire continues to grow, with Ymir also being forced to fight and subjugate Marley, which resembled the Roman Empire back then.
Eventually, a group of Marleyan leaders are bowing before Fritz, only for this to turn out to be an assassination attempt, as one soldier throws a hidden spear at Fritz.
Ymir throws herself in front of the spear, giving her life for Fritz, only for him to berate her, telling her to get up since he knows no spear can kill her.
At that moment, Ymir gives up on life and dies, her soul going into the Paths.
In the physical world, Fritz horrifically feeds Ymir’s body to her daughters, revealed to be Maria, Rose and Sina, who the three walls on Paradis will be named after.
This cannibalistic feast allows Ymir’s Titan powers to be passed down.
Despite this horrifying scene being censored compared to the manga, I still think it was adapted well.
Ymir then continues to build Titan in the Paths for 2000 years, while we hear Fritz’s narration that his Titans will rule until the world’s end.
It is at this point that Eren interrupts Fritz, bringing us back to the present with his declaration that he will put an end to this world, pleading with Ymir to give him her strength.
He proclaims she is not a god, or a devil, but a person and that she has the right to choose what happens now.
Alarmed, Zeke runs to stop Eren, demanding that Ymir continue to obey him, just like Fritz demanded of her.
As Zeke approaches, Eren continues to console Ymir, before wondering if she was the one who lead him here, and telling her she has been waiting 2000 years for someone.
At this moment, we see Ymir’s eyes for the first time as she cries at Eren’s profound words.
This powerful moment was adapted beautifully from the manga, but I do wish we had seen Ymir’s face rise up to reveal her expression rather than just cutting to it, which the anime chose to do.
In any case, Ymir has chosen Eren.
Despite this being a powerful choice, it is quickly revealed to also be a horrifying one.
Outside of Paths, the spine-like creature emerges from Eren’s body and attaches itself to his decapitated head, the following transformiation absorbing both him and Zeke, as the walls crumble around them.
The Rumbling has begun.
Cutting back to Mikasa and Armin, the two look on in shock at Eren’s new Titan form, which is the largest we have ever seen in the story.
Armin desperately wants to believe Eren is doing the right thing, stating his belief that Eren has started only a partial Rumbling to destroy the world’s military.
However, it quickly becomes apparent that this is not the case, as Armin notices that all of Wall Maria has collapsed.
If Eren wanted to destroy just the world’s military, then he would not need so many Wall Titans.
Just as this relization is hitting Armin and Mikasa, Eren calls them and every other Eldian into Paths using the Founding Titan’s power to declare his intentions.
We get a brief overview of every important character hearing his announcement, including some anime original reactions from Floch and Historia, the latter of whom is still sitting in that damn rocking chair that she can’t seem to leave ever since she got pregant.
Eren declares to every single Eldian that his intent is to use the Rumbling to wipe out all life beyond Paradis Island, with the episode ending on a fantastic adaptation of his monstrous face from Chapter 123.
Eren has now gone down the path of global genocide and there is no going back for him.
“From You, 2000 Years Ago” is a fantastic episode of Attack on Titan, already being hailed as one of the series’ best, what with its amazing showcase of Ymir’s tragic backstory and Eren’s horrifying plans for the Rumbling.
Although, I am curious if anime onlies will keep this high opinion of the episode once its events are recontextualized with the ending.
I will start off the manga spoilers section for this post with a scene that I will admit to being quite confused by.
This is the opening scene, where Zeke confronts Eren after they leave their father’s memories.
As I said in the spoiler free section, Zeke deduces that Eren showed Grisha a memory, which convinced him to hand over the power of the Founding Titan.
What was this memory he was shown?
Well, your guess is as good as mine.
Seriously, what did Eren show Grisha that convinced him?
We get no further explanation on it in the manga and Grisha’s soul even sides against Eren in Chapter 137, so why does he give him the power?
Either this is something that will be explained in the show, with an anime original scene, or it’s a plot hole, unless I’m misunderstanding this scene’s meaning, of course.
Then there’s the strange change of Eren’s expression when he refrences the “sight.”
The question is why the anime changed his expression from excited to depressed?
This is just a guess on my part but maybe it’s because they want it to be more in line with the idea that Eren was pretty much a slave to the Founding Titan in the ending, forced by destiny or something to do all he did, which Eren would not be happy about.
If that is the reason for the change, I don’t really like it because it does not line up with Eren’s reaction to the “sight” of the Rumbling in Chapter 131.
Unless, god forbid, they change that too.
Now, let’s talk about the recontextualization of Chapter 122.
I disliked the ending reveals that Ymir was in love with her abuser and waiting for Mikasa to help her get rid of this toxic love so much that it shot the chapter from my favourite to right out of my top ten.
If anything, though, I would think that it speaks to this episode’s quality that I was able to put aside this major issue I have and enjoy it so much, despite my hindsight for future events as a manga reader.
However, there were a few instances where my negative opinion creeped through.
For instance, this episode only strengthened my opinion that the twist of Ymir loving Fritz is absolutely ridiculous.
Even if you put it in the lens of stockholm syndrome it makes no sense.
Just look at Ymir’s reaction to Fritz telling her that he will force her to bear his children.
Like I said in the spoiler free section, she looks miserable when he says that.
How are we supposed to believe she loved him when she looks so depressed whenever she’s with him because he’s such a monster to her?
I’m dreading this reveal whenever we get to it.
It’s easily the worst part of the entire ending for me.
I’ll end the manga spoiler section on a positive note, talking about the absence of most of Chapter 123, “Island Devils.”
That chapter mainly consists of a flashback from Mikasa’s perspective during her, Eren, Armin and the other scouts’ time infiltrating Marley.
This flashback was skipped over in the episode for the ending scene, where Eren declares he will destroy the world.
However, I do not think this scene has been removed entirely.
No, I think it was just moved for when the anime adapts Chapter 131, “Rumbling.”
I think the flashback of Chapter 123 would work perfectly with Chapter 131’s adaptation because it is the chapter that introduces Ramzi.
Seeing him and his family partying with the 104th, our main characters’ last moments of happiness, before seeing Ramzi and millions of other innocents slaughtered in the Rumbling right after would be horrifying and a lot more cohesive.
So, if that is what the anime is going for, I am in favour of this change.
Of course, there is the chance that this flashback has been removed altogether, but I don’t see that happening since it is required to introduce Ramzi, which will go on to make his death by the Rumbling impactful.
So, I’m looking forward to be horrified with that episode, before the season ends to adapt the rest of the manga in either a movie or the Final Season Part Three, because there’s no way it’s ending in twelve episodes with this pacing.