Attack on Titan, Season Three, Episode Sixteen, Perfect Game Review. The Final Advance.

4 and a half stars

Spoiler Free Review:

Worst. Baseball match. Ever.
If you have seen the sixteenth episode of Attack on Titan‘s third season, “Perfect Game”, you will understand why I am referencing baseball.
The episode probably gave us what has to be the most horrifying interpretation of the game in, well, ever.
And the characters suffered for it.
This is easily the most desperate we have ever seen them, with sacrifices having to be made.
Erwin in particular has to make a decision that shapes his entire character arc in a brilliant moment from him.
Armin also got more time to shine when he and the other Scouts started to face off against Bertholdt’s Colossal Titan.
Speaking of, thankfully there are some shots of him in “Perfect Game” that are not CGI, and make him actually fit in with the environment.
There are still times when he is completely CGI, and sticks out like a sour thumb, but I am personally glad he looked realistic to the world some of the time rather than none of it.
In any case, the fight between him and the scouts is investing, especially when Eren gets involved, where something happens that I think will shock a lot of people.
The biggest shocks of the episode, though, easily come with Erwin and Levi’s story.
These scenes are full of horrifying moments that actually improved on the manga, which is great because, other than a few scenes, I personally think the last few episodes have been falling under the bar in comparison with the source material.
That said, there are a few nitpicky problems I do have but, as the word suggests, these are minor.
The opening scene reworks the ending from the last episode, which makes it feels out of order somewhat, and a particular scene concerning Mikasa felt a bit watered down in comparison with the manga.
Other than this, “Perfect Game” is a great episode full of character growth, sacrifice, and one hell of a cliffhanger to keep you watching.
Next week’s episode is “Hero” and I am incredibly excited for it because, when I reviewed the manga chapters the episode will cover I game them five stars.
So, I have my fingers crossed it can live up to the fantastic source material.
One interesting thing to note, however, is that there have been rumors that Wit Studio, the ones who make Attack on Titan, will be cancelling the series after this arc.
If this is true, then it means the series will have to be picked up by another studio, which means we will have to wait a while before getting the next season.
While this would be sad, I have to say this is only a rumor.

Spoiler Review:

Who knew that baseball could get so violent?
In all seriousness, the scene where the Beast Titan started throwing crushed rocks at the scouts is somehow made more horrifying here than in the manga for me.
The shot of the rocks crashing into buildings with dust and splashes of blood rising up, along with the agonized screams of dying scouts, is very disturbing.
The manga panels of this scene always felt a little stiff to me so to see it animated with such horrifying ferocity is great.
On top of this, the development that came from Erwin here is fantastic.
Erwin is a selfish person who has manipulated others into giving their lives for humanity, while he alone had personal dreams.
Yet in this episode, he finally sheds this.
He gives up on his dream and finally lives up to the ideals he sprouted, giving his life and the lives of his soldiers so that Levi can have a shot at killing the Beast Titan.
The build up to this moment is well done with Erwin voicing his flaws to Levi, who ultimately convinces him to do the right thing.
The big cliffhanger of the episode sees a rock ripping right through his stomach as he urges his soldiers to fight as they run straight to death’s door.
Along with this, we also get to see how the scouts are dealing with the Colossal Titan.
Unsure of what to do next, Armin passes on leadership to Jean, who initiates a plan of attack to stop Bertholdt reaching the wall.
This leads to Eren attacking Bertholdt but, while appearing to work at first, everything goes wrong when Bertholdt kicks him to the top of the wall, knocking him unconscious and forcing the Scouts to fight the Colossal Titan themselves.
This is where my issue for “Perfect Game” came in.
While Jean, Sasha and Connie attempt to distract Bertholdt, Mikasa launches the Thunder Spears at him from behind, only for him to use his steam to launch them back at her.
In the manga, the explosion clearly hurts her, and it looks like you can see shrapnel marks on her back, detailing how hard this fight is on her and everyone else.
However, in the anime this is watered down.
Mikasa says she took shrapnel but it does not look that bad by comparison, lessening the impact.
Another minor problem I have is Connie’s “eavesdropping” joke, which now does feel a bit out of place.
Not only that but it rearranges some of the parts of the previous episode, making it feel a bit disjointed.
However, as I said in my spoiler free review, these problems are only minor.
The rest of “Perfect Game” is great with its themes of sacrifice, epitomized by Erwin’s final advance.
Well, that is four episodes down and six to go and, I have to say, I cannot wait for the rest of them.
If you are an anime only, then those next six episodes will surely blow your mind.

Attack on Titan: Season three, episode three, Old Story – Spoiler free and spoiler review: Backstories galore.

3 and a half stars

Spoiler Free Review:

The third episode of Attack on Titan‘s third season aired, giving us the backstory of both Historia and Erwin.
Compared to the previous two episodes of the season, this episode, Old Story, had a much slower pace because it was more character driven that action and story driven.
This is not a bad thing as the anime has been able to give us some truly fantastic character driven episodes, like season two, episode ten, Children, which is one of my favourite episodes of the series.
In comparison with these other character driven episodes, Old Story is a pretty good one that adds a lot of depth to the characters of Erwin and Historia.
Also, while I do not think this episode is as good as the first two of the season, especially episode two, I still found it be very enjoyable.
Along with delivering more background to some characters, this episode also had some revelations and made, what I can only guess to be, more hints for future reveals.
Old Story also reveals, more than any episode so far, what exactly our central characters are facing in this arc as it goes in deep with their foes’ levels of depravity.
My favourite character of the episode would have to be Erwin because, not only did he have a lot of good moments, but the reveal of his backstory also explained a lot about his character.
It also set up, what I think is going to be, a very good character arc for him this season.
Overall, Old Story was a good, if slow, episode.
It may not have had much excitement or even that great of a cliffhanger but it added complexity to more of the characters and set up future reveals.

Spoiler Review:

It seems like every character in Attack on Titan has some kind of traumatic past.
Eren, Mikasa, Ymir, and now Erwin and Historia.
The reveal of both of these characters’ backstories was really well done and both gave a great sense of their characters.
Historia’s was especially tragic because it showed how cruel her mother was to her as she even went as far to want her dead but, thankfully, did not have the “courage” to do so.
It could just be that Historia’s mother was a terrible person, but it seemed to me that, for some reason, she actually feared her daughter so, if that is the case, it will be interesting to see why later.
Even if she did fear Historia though, I still see this as no excuse of her treatment of her.
Historia is freaking adorable in these flashbacks and anyone that would shove a kid, let alone their own, for trying to give them a hug is cruel.
Historia’s past got weirder as it went on as well.
The day after Wall Maria fell, Rod Reiss came to get her, only for Kenny and the Military Police to arrive and murder Historia’s mother right in front of her.
What makes this scene especially strange is that it raises numerous questions.
Why did they want to kill Historia and her mother, why did Historia’s mother refer to Rod as “master”, why did Rod suddenly decide to allow Historia to be spared so long as she lived under a fake name?
I am sure all of these questions will be explained and I am eager to hear those explanations.
As for Erwin’s backstory, this gave me an even bigger sense of who he is because it is revealed he blames himself for his father’s death.
His father was a teacher who told Erwin that he thought the government was lying about history.
Erwin told his friends and the Military Police found out and so it ended with Erwin’s father being murdered.
This inspired Erwin to prove his father’s theory correct and it looks like that will be his main goal in the Uprising Arc.
He also had a really great scene, where he vowed to avenge Dimo Reeves, whose murder he has been framed for.
One thing that does have me concerned though is that Erwin tells Hange she will be in charge of the Survey Corps if he dies.
Hopefully this is not foreshadowing his death any time soon but this is Attack on Titan so you never know.
Then there is the revelation that in order to become a Titan Shifter you need to eat one.
I already knew this because it had basically been confirmed with the episode Children and it just needed to be stated by the characters.
However, all this being said, I did find a bit of a plot hole in this episode and this is what they did with the captive Djel Sannes and his buddy Ralph.
They locked them up in a cell but left no one to guard them.
If the two of them just happened to break out then Rod would know everything Sannes told Hange.
The ending cliffhanger also was not that interesting but the only reason I have a problem with that is probably because of how good the previous two were.
Old Story left me with a lot of questions, especially surrounding Historia, that I hope will be answered in the next few episodes.

Predictions:

  1. In the preview for next episode it looks like the Military Police Officer that is sneaking up on the group is actually Marlow, Annie’s friend from when she was with the MP. You can see him being threatened by Jean, and Levi talking to him. I think he could be pretty important going forward since he joined the Military Police to try and fix it. If this is him, hopefully his story here will make me like him more because I do not really care for him at this stage.
  2. Dimo Reeves’ son Flegel saw Kenny murder his father so could be the key to proving Erwin innocent. He also must have heard Kenny refer to Levi as an “Ackerman” so he will be probably be the one to drop the bombshell that Levi and Mikasa are related. We can see him being captured by the Military Police in the preview but it also looks like he will be saved by Hange and Moblit.
  3. With the confirmation that you now need to eat a Titan Shifter to become one it looks like my grim theory about how Eren became a Titan is correct. Once again, I will not say it because I do not want to potentially spoil you, but I do think it will be revealed soon. Unless of course I am completely wrong about this.
  4. Kenny is certainly living up to his serial killer nickname of “The Ripper”. Forget Levi, I think this guy has the highest kill count out of any character. He has probably murdered hundreds of people and I do not expect him to stop here. I dread to see what he will do next.