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.
Tag: final season
Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Fifteen, Sole Salvation Review: A Cautionary Tale.
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 Fourteen, Savagery Review: It’s Time for Round Two.
I was very excited for Episode Fourteen of Attack on Titan‘s Final Season, “Savagery”, because it would be adapting two very great chapters that I may have not graded too high upon initial viewing but have become more fond of over time.
However, then an earthquake happened and the episode was delayed a full week, now premiering alongside Episode 15, “Solve Salvation.”
While not getting “Savagery” last week was disappointing, it is understandable why they would delay it.
I mean, this came not ten years after the devestating earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands.
Yet, once again, some of the fandom showed its toxic side, demanding the episode be aired and saying they did not care about the reason for the delay.
In any case, we eventually got “Savagery”, directed by Jun Shishido, and was it the potential top ten episode that I said it could be?
Well, not really, but it’s still a great episode.
Picking up from where “Children of the Forest” left off, Episode Fourteen kicks off with Eren’s confrontation with Mikasa and Armin, where he tells them some very hard truths(?).
Leaning back in his chair, Eren tells Armin that because he has been going to see Annie so much this means that Bertholdt has taken over his brain, which is honestly a very hypocritical thing for someone who has eaten three Titan Shifters to say.
But Eren doesn’t stop there, oh no, because then comes the tragic scene that fans have memed ever since it happened.
The “Mmgh” scene.
Dubbed this because of the sound effect Mikasa makes in the manga, in this moment, Eren claims that Zeke told him that members of the Ackerman family only awaken their power after they recognize a host to protect.
So, when Eren saved Mikasa all those years ago in the cabin, she saw him as a host, which is why she has been so desperate to protect Eren over the years, not because she truly loves him but because she is essentially a slave to her Ackerman instincts, or so Eren claims.
He backs this up with the constant headaches Mikasa has been suffering, which is apparently the true self trying to break free from its Ackerman programming.
As if this was not bad enough, Eren follows this up with the cruelest thing he could possibly say, “Mikasa, I’ve always hated you.”
Rightfully, Armin goes to try and teach Eren a lesson, only for Mikasa to slam him into the table, again seemingly proving Eren’s point.
This doesn’t stop Armin, though, as he continues to try and beat up Eren.
Note my repeated use of the word “try” because Armin does not stand a chance.
Eren’s brutal beating to Armin here was much worse than in the manga, where he only hit him once or twice.
Here, Eren launches a barage of fists, reducing Armin to a bloody pulp.
But if Armin doesn’t get to Eren with his fists then he definitley gets to him with his words, calling him a slave and, given Eren’s angered reaction, you have to wonder exactly how free he really is.
This whole scene was a great adaptation of Eren practically trying to destroy his friendship with Mikasa and Armin, although I do wish more lines from the manga had been kept in.
I was pretty sad to see Eren’s line of, “There’s nothing further removed from freedom than ignorance” go.
Following the intense scene between Eren, Mikasa and Armin (oh, and Gabi too, I guess) we get the action segment of the episode with the long awaited round two between Zeke and Levi.
Seeing Zeke run away from Levi before transforming Levi’s men was way funnier than in the manga and the part where he actually transformed them was particularily horrifying.
Then we get the fight, which is really good but admittedly could have been done better.
For starters, I do think some of the shots of the Titans were a bit too static and also some iconic shots from the manga should have been given a few more seconds to linger to make the scene more epic.
Then there’s the OST.
I know I harked on about people complaining about the OST in “Declaration of War” but that’s because I personally think some of them let their expectations get in the way of things, which is understandable because I’ve experienced that too.
In the case of this OST use, I actually like that they used Kenny’s theme because, with him now gone, it feels like it belongs to Levi.
However, I do think that they should have used the lyricless version because the lyrics of this theme speak directly to Kenny’s motivations.
So, it’s a bit weird listening to a song about why Kenny wanted to steal the Founding Titan that is playing in a Levi vs Zeke fight scene.
This is something I picked up on a rewatch, though, and I don’t think a lot of people will be too bothered by it.
Again, I did really enjoy the Levi vs Zeke scene, I just wish that Mappa had more time to animate certain sections of it better and maybe went with the lyricless version of K21, so the lyrics didn’t jar with what is actually happening in the scene.
Back to the actual fight, if we can even call it that because it’s more of a slaughter, Levi comes out on top once more because Zeke underestimates him yet again.
Zeke may be one of the smartest characters in Attack on Titan but his ego always gets the better of him, and in spectacular fashion here.
Levi not only manages to kill all of the Titans Zeke transformed, willingly killing his own comrades, but also blows Zeke out of his hardened nape with the Thunder Spears, leaving Zeke a gruesome mess that looks brutal, even with the censorship.
This leaves him at Levi’s mercy, stuck in a cart, looking like a piece of overcooked pizza, and with a thunderspear stabbed in his abdomen to keep him from escaping.
Not to mention Levi torturing him by cutting his feet off so he won’t transform into a Titan, and probably also for personal satisfaction but who can blame Levi for that after all the cruel things Zeke has done.
Well, if you thought that Zeke was a completley irredeemable monster, then the cliffhanger for the episode may have hinted otherwise to you, as we see Zeke as a child playing catch with a mysterious man named Mr Ksaver, preparing us all for the Zeke flashback we would see next episode, which more than lived up to expectations.
As for the rest of “Savagery” that comes before this cliffhanger, it is just as great, with Floch’s ambushing of Shadis done very well.
You can really see how drunk on power Floch has become, as he pursues nationalism even further by punishing those who do not align with his thought process, having Shadis be beaten up by a bunch of recruits he trained before demanding Hange lead them to Zeke.
Given that it was implied that Hange once had a crush on Shadis, the moment she looks at him, beaten to a bloody pulp, like Armin was previously, is really sad.
Not as sad as the next episode, though, “Sole Salvation”, which, as I have said, is a fantastic episode that I look forward to reviewing.
Overall, even if I think certain moments of “Savagery” could have been done better, the episode is still fantastic with its tragic scene between Eren, Mikasa and Armin, and epic second showdown between Levi and Zeke.
Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Nine, Brave Volunteers Review: Rubbing Salt in the Wound.
Another week, another good episode for the final season of Attack on Titan.
Last week’s episode, “Assasin’s Bullet”, was one of the most tragic in the entire series, featuring the death of long time fan favourite, Sasha Blouse.
So, after a traumatising loss like that, how does the latest episode, “Brave Volunteers”, follow it up?
Well, by showing Sasha a tonne in flashbacks, just to rub salt in the wound, of course!
In all seriousness, it was both nice and tragic to see Sasha in these scenes, as her jokes always landed, while also making us feel sad, realizing that this will probably be the last time she makes us laugh in the series, considering her death.
Directed by Kōki Aoshima, “Brave Volunteers” is mostly comprised of flashbacks, explaining what happened to the Scouts during the three year timeskip, providing plenty of context for their actions in the attack on Marley.
This context is provided by the first scene, as we learn about the titular volunteers who betrayed Marley under the orders of Zeke Jaeger.
The opening scene showing this is a well done adaptation of the manga, as the episode begins with Armin talking to someone off screen, while he holds the seashell he retrieved at the end of Season Three.
From here, the episode transitions to not long after that final moment on the beach, where the Scouts have to stop an oncoming attack from a Marleyan warship.
Thankfully, such warships are no match for a Titans powers, with Eren picking the ship up with ease, in a moment that is very similar to one of his predecessors and namesake, Eren Kruger.
Slamming the ship down onto the beach, the Marleyan invaders are then greeted by an enthusiastic, yet nervous, Hange, in an excellent case of voice acting from Romi Park.
Hange’s welcome to the Marleyans was funny in the manga but Park’s delivery here makes it even more hilarious, with her giving the best performance of the episode.
However, this is a performance that the Marleyans are not quite buying because Hange and Levi’s captive, Niccolo, is not too cooperative, and the captain of the invading forces would rather die that “drink pig piss” with “devils.”
Well, die he certainly does, as courtesy from Yelena, who blows her commanding officer’s brains onto the deck, before other members of the Volunteers, Onyankopon among them, take control of the ship, as Yelena accepts Hange’s offer for tea and then ominously states how she has been looking forward to meeting Eren.
The reason this is so ominous quickly becomes apparent in the next scene, where Yelena reveals her connection to Zeke, with her worshipping him, like a god.
Before this, though, Hange and Levi get an exposition dump about events in Marley, since they defeated them at the battle of Shiganshina, learning all about how Marley had entered a series of wars because of their defeat and how the Titans used to trap the Eldians have surprisingly become a defence.
Although, these Titans have been long since defeated so if Marley had found that, Paradis would have been in a world of hurt.
Also, when Yelena is mentioning these Titans, we get a comedic shot of them dancing, which I can’t believe I criticized when I reviewed the manga chapter this episode adapted.
Seems a bit of a weird thing for me to have complained about in hindsight.
Back to the episode, the Garrison and Military Police are understandably skeptical of the volunteers because of their connections to Zeke.
However, this changes when Eren learns that Zeke’s secret plan involves both the Founding Titan and a Titan of royal blood.
Realizing that his theory about those two being necessary to activate the Founding Titan is correct, and now having a way to use the power without endangering Historia, through Zeke, Eren admit this knowledge that he had kept hidden from the rest of the Scouts.
This starts the slow spiral of the Scouts not trusting Eren any more, which culminates in them losing trust in him completley with his attack on Marley.
Still, Eren’s revelation also gains some support for the volunteers, helped further by them assisting in taking down further attacking ships.
We see one such take down, when Yelena and Onyankopon lure the enemy soldiers in, only for Armin to force them all ashore with his Colossal Titan, where they are meet by Levi, who is kind enough to offer them all some pig piss, throwing the words the dead captain spat back at them.
With trust in the volunteers now ascertained, many of them begin helping out with other tasks, like Onyankopon, who helped the island set up a port.
This leads to the comedically awkward moment where Sasha asked Onyankopon why his skin is dark.
Just like that, Sasha was cancelled by all of Twitter.
Jokes aside, this comedic moment did lead to a moment of insightfulness from Onyankopon, who states that their creator most likely thought it would be more interesting if different kind of people existed in the world.
This ideology will become important to Onyankopon’s character in the future and is why I think he is such a great side character.
Another volunteer who helps out, although much more unwillingly in this case, is Niccolo, who broadens the 104th’s perception of food, something that is greatly appreciated by Sasha.
Que another comedic, yet tragic, Sasha scene where she dives into the lobster, like a rabid animal, and declares Niccolo a food genius, earning a blush from the previously prejudiced soldier.
Despite coming so far with the volunteers, though, Eren is not as convinced as Armin and Mikasa that this can eventually create a chance for peace.
He points out that the world despises them because they can turn into monsters, which they are not exactly wrong about, and how they need to buy time to stop them from attacking.
With this line, Eren fires a practice shot, which transitions cruelly, yet beautifully, into Sasha being shot, showing how Eren is partially responsible for her death because of his attack.
From here, the episode switches to the present, as the 104th attend Sasha’s funeral, only for Niccolo to be attacked by an Eldian soldier for being Marleyan, showing how bigotry is now unfortunately starting to run strong in Paradis’ ranks, as well.
Thankfully, Niccolo is protected by Jean and Connie, who bring him to the grave, where the characters say their goodbyes, including a heartbreaking line from Connie, who says that Sasha was like his twin and now it feels like a part of him is gone.
Sasha’s parents then arrive, with the young girl who Sasha saved all the way back in Season Two, who they seem to have adopted, showing that Sasha really did make a difference with her fighting.
Niccolo offers to cook a meal for the family in memorial of Sasha and her father agrees to, free of charge.
Like father, like daughter, it would seem.
However, while there is a coming togethor of would be enemies here, this is very much not the case with Levi and Zeke, whose rivalry continues to grow in two very tense, yet comedic, scenes.
First, there is the carriage ride scene, where Zeke comments how the ignorance of the Public on Paradis is frightening.
Levi wants to kill Zeke but is willing to wait to see if this plan of his plays out, to which Zeke acts grateful for, before cautiously asking Levi if he can stop glaring at him.
Monkey PTSD intensifies.
Then, we get the hotel scene, where Zeke is welcomed to the five start hotel of the Titan forest, a perfect spot for relaxing and possible ODM Gear fights if Zeke tries anything.
Zeke wants to show Gabi and Falco the luxury of this “hotel” but I doubt they’ll be too happy about it, especially with Gabi chewing her fingernail and ranting to herself about Eren Jaeger, as she and Falco currently sit in a prison cell.
Finally, we get our three big moments from Armin, Mikasa and Eren this episode.
For Armin, it is finally revealed who he was talking to all this time: Annie.
The Female Titan is still stuck inside of the freaking crystal four years later.
Then, there’s Mikasa, who sits against Sasha’s grave for the second time this episode, repeating the words Eren first spoke to her, “Fight or die. Win and live.”
With her repeating Eren’s line, we cut to the man himself, inside a prison cell, looking particularly dead inside, and sporting a new hairstyle that is suspiciously similar to the way the Warhammer Titan styled her hair.
As he looks at his reflection in the jail mirror, Eren ends the episode with him twice repeating one the words associated with his character, “Fight. Fight.”
Who Eren will be fighting against now that he is on Paradis, though, remains to be seen.
“Brave Vounteers” is another really good Attack on Titan episode.
It gave us some much needed explanations about what the Scouts had been up to during the time skip and gave us more tragedy, with the comedic Sasha scenes that only rubbed salt in the wound that is the pain from her death.
One thing that has surprised me about the last couple of episodes is that they have been pretty slow paced, compared to the previous episodes anyway, adapting only one chapter as opposed to two.
This makes me wonder just how far the season will adapt, since there’s only supposed to be 16 episodes, after which we will probably either get a Final Season Part Two or a movie.
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
In any case, the next episode “A Sound Argument” is set to air today and it will be extremely interesting to see the fans’ reaction to it, given what is revealed there.
Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Eight, Assassin’s Bullet Review: Great Use of OST for Tragic Scene.
Well, the Gabi hate train has officially left the station.
In all seriousness, I was both excited and dreading Episode Eight of Attack on Titan‘s Final Season, “Assassins Bullet.”
I was dreading it because it would deliver one of the moster heartbreaking deaths of the series and excited because, well, it would deliver one of the most heartbreaking deaths of the series.
The death of Sasha Blouse is one of the most tragic moments in Attack on Titan and it was adapted perfectly, in my opinion.
Directed by Hidetoshi Takahashi, Lie June Yang and Yōsuke Yamamoto, “Assasin’s Bullet” begins by slowly building up to Sasha’s death, first by showing the quick defeat of Reiner by Eren.
Anime only viewers may have thought an epic fight was about to happen, based off the previous episode’s cliffhanger but no, at least not this time.
Reiner’s Titan wasn’t formed well enough to handle Eren, both because of his injuries and his suicidal thoughts.
However, Reiner’s goal wasn’t to fight Eren here but to rescue Porco, which he succeeded in doing, managing to outsmart Eren.
With his power spent, Eren decides to flee with Mikasa, showing Reiner a sympathetic look before saying he’ll see him later as he and Mikasa take off for the airship with the rest of the Scouts.
Seeing this, Gabi decides to make her last stand, taking off with the gate guard’s gun and ready to shoot Eren Jeager, who is currently boarding the airship.
It is here that we get Eren’s reunion with Armin and Levi, which is tumultiuous to say the least.
First, there is Armin pulling Eren into the airship, a blank stare on his face, where there is a clear difference to Armin’s happy expression when similarly giving Eren a hand back in Season Three, when they were leaving the Reiss’ crystal cavern.
Then, there’s Levi who, in classic fashion, kicks Eren in the face, sending him crashing into the wall.
Levi places him under arrest, before telling him he looks like every hopeless person he meet in the Underground, showing how far Eren has fallen.
Armin even stops Mikasa from helping Eren here.
Eren’s actions have clearly driven a rift between him and the rest of the main cast, which will only widen further upon the death of Sasha, which is built up to from this point on in the episode.
This build up to her tragic death is started first by, of course, reminding us all of how close Sasha is with Connie and Jean, just to drive the knife deeper into our hearts, when she finally bites the bullet.
As Floch starts a victory cheer in honour of the six Scouts who lost their lives (soon to be eight), Connie embraces Jean and Sasha, telling the two that they are important to him.
Way to jinx it Connie because down below the airship, Gabi is racing to attack the Scouts, with Falco right behind her.
Coming from a family of former restorationists, Falco is obviously not as brainwashed as Gabi, who comes from a Warrior family, so he sees the truth of the situation.
He tries to tell Gabi as much by stopping her and informing her that this attack is revenge for the attack on Paradis nine years ago.
Gabi, however, can’t break through the brainwashing because of her upbringing, which is only reinforced by the horrors of war she has just experienced.
Bringing up the deathsb of Udo and Zofia, how she never saw this attack on Paradis, and how it has always been normal to kill those on the island because they are devils who may have just ruined whatever chance of Eldians being accepted, Gabi races off once more.
Shooting a former member of the Garrison, Lobov, Gabi prepares to use his ODM Gear to launch a suicide attack on the Scouts, planning to take out as many as she can.
As Colt approaches, Gabi plans to part ways with Falco, telling him he was one of the good ones.
Unfortunately for her, Falco is not going to just up and abandon her as he grabs hold of her when she takes off, remembering the promise he made to Reiner.
All Colt can do is watch as his brother and Gabi descend up into the enemy’s clutches to deliver Sasha her death.
It is here that Floch’s intent to create a cheer for Eldia comes back to bite him, everyone, and especially Sasha in the behind.
Not being able to hear anything because of the chanting, Gabi is able to sneak onboard and get a shot off… right into our beloved Potato Girl’s chest.
Just like that, the cunductor has screamed “All aboard!” for the Gabi hate train.
While many people may have boarded this train, hating Gabi for killing Sasha, I, for one, remain firmly on the platform.
Ever since I read the manga, I have never hated Gabi for killing Sasha because she is a brainwashed child who just saw Sasha kill people she cared about.
I will miss Sasha in the anime just as much as I did in the manga but I am still personally looking forward to see Gabi and the other characters grows from this.
Sasha’s death is honestly one of the most impactful moments in the manga, both because of how emotional it is and its long term effects on the story.
We will some of these effects in the next episode but back to “Assassin’s Bullet”, following Sasha being shot we get absolute craziness, as Gabi and Falco are beaten by Floch and the other Scouts while Jean and Sasha try to get a tourniquet wrapped around Sasha and keep her concious.
However, with blood leaking from her mouth, it is clear that Sasha has internal bleeding and does not have long.
This is further confirmed by her haziness, as she seems to be hallucinating that she is about to be served meat to eat.
Sasha’s voice actor, Yū Kobayashi, does an excellent job here voicing Sasha’s final moments, as she struggles to speak through her slowly escaping life.
Then, we get the big twist of the episode because, as Jean prepares to bring Gabi to “the mastermind” of this attack, Magath comes to see an injured Pieck and learns of the Marleyan soldier who trapped her and Porco.
This soldier, named Yelena, is one Pieck recognized for one, very specific reason: she is a devout follower of Zeke.
With that line, comes the reveal that Zeke has been working with the Scouts to orchestrate this attack on Liberio to extract him.
Zeke seems to want Eldia to be free based on what he is says and has been using Yelena to communicate with the Scouts over the years.
Speaking of Yelena, it was funny to see various anime only viewers think for a couple of weeks that she was actually Armin, who had gone through a growth spurt during the time skip.
As for Zeke, despite it being revealed that he is now working with the Scouts, things are not obviously good between them, considering all that he has done.
Levi especially has an axe to grind with Zeke, promising that he still plans killing him to be the last part of a meal that he will savour.
It seems that Eren is in a similar state of tension with the Scouts, as Hange states that, by going rogue and forcing the Scouts hand through making himself a hostage, he has lost their trust.
Before the tension can grow any further, however, Connie comes in with the hearbreaking news that Sasha has died and, at that very moment, the OST kicks in.
For Sasha’s death, an instrumental version of “Call Your Name” was chosen.
The combination of the OST and the shots of Mikasa and Armin crying over Sasha’s dead body had me tearing up.
It was the perfect way to portray Sasha’s death in all of its tragedy.
This tragedy is hightened when Eren learns of her last word, which was “meat.”
One could be mistaken for thinking this is some kind of joke but it’s really not.
For Sasha, food represented the freedom she would obtain when she and the Scouts were finally safe and got to eat whatever they wanted.
In this moment, Eren realizes that Sasha has lost her chance at this freedom, which is why he laugh-cries, similar to what he did when Hannes died.
And, with this, the tragic “Assasin’s Bullet” comes to a close.
Overall, I would say this was a perfect adaptation of the manga, with Sasha’s death in particular being tear inducing.
I for one am interested to see if the Gabi hatred will last, or if more people will start to warm up to her character as the season goes on.
Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Five, Declaration of War Review: The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For.
Chapter 100, “Declaration of War.”
Pretty much every Attack on Titan fan who has read the manga can easily recall this chapter.
I can still remember sitting in stunned silence after reading it because of what had just occurred.
So, needless to say, I was extremely excited to see one of my favorite chapters adapted in the anime.
Well, having seen it, I can say that Mappa and director Teruyuki Ōmine definitely pulled it off, providing a nail biting delivery for “Declaration of War.”
The episode starts off with a flashback to Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie’s time in the scouts, as was seen in Episode Three.
This time, we have a scene of Bertholdt wondering why the man who hung himself in the settlement chose to tell them his story before he did so, believing it was because he wanted to be judged.
At this point, the scene perfectly transitions to Reiner about to be judged by Eren, as they meet for the first time in four years.
Falco, the sweet boy, has absolutely no idea about the absolute disaster he has unintentionally caused, completely unaware as Eren subtly threatens all the people in the building above them by showing his cut hand, threatening to transform if Reiner tries anything.
From here, we see the build up to Willy’s declaration, as he is visited by the mysterious Kiyomi Azumabito from last episode, who seems to know something, given that she leaves before the festival.
Another interesting scene is between Karina and Annie’s father, where Mr Leonhart insists that his daughter is still alive, which is basically just Isayama’s way of saying, yes, Annie’s in the story, even if she’s not important right now.
The final build up scene before the performance sees Zeke, Pieck and Porco being lured away by a mysterious guard who then traps Pieck and Porco in a hole to prevent them from transforming and trying to stop whatever is about to happen.
As a manga reader, it’s been pretty fun to see fan theories about who the mysterious soldier is.
I’ve heard theories about it being Jean, Connie, and, most often, Armin who has had an extreme growth spurt.
In any case, this trapping scene is very well done, building the tension up nicely, and even providing some humor when Pieck’s panzer unit get jealous over Pieck hugging only one of them.
With the threat of enemy Titan Shifters removed, Eren can now confront Reiner in temporary peace and Willy can begin his last speech.
Down in the basement, Reiner asks Eren why he came here and Eren chillingly replies “the same reason you did” and follows this up by telling Reiner multiple times that he is “the same as you.”
This shows just how much Eren has grown over the four year time skip, going from hot headed to calm, collective, and even reflective over his situation.
He is clearly not the same arrogant character who I couldn’t stand all the way back in season one, and Yuki Kaji does a fantastic job voicing this calmer version of Eren.
Another voice actor who deserves praise for their work this episode is Kazuhiko Inoue, who does a fantastic job with delivering Willy’s lines, during his epic speech.
This voice acting, accompanying the gruesome imagery of the performance, makes for a great use of exposition that keeps the viewer engaged while being fed information.
The information Willy conveys is that the Marleyan version of history is a lie (big shock), and that The Great Titan War was actually ended by King Fritz, who conspired with the Tyber family to make a Marleyan, Helos, a hero, and then fled to Paradis Island out of guilt for what his people had done.
Willy revealing this shows how masterfully he can manipulate a crowd because first he reveals the truth, before redirecting the crowd’s anger at a new threat, Eren Jaeger.
Speaking of, Eren knows full well how much of a threat he is, admitting that he might just end up destroying the world, like Willy fears, because of the millions of Colossal Titans in the walls, which he could potentially control.
Falco is horrified that someone he trusted would use him and becomes even more terrified when he realizes the letters Eren had him send were to his “comrades.”
For now though, Eren’s attention is entirely on Reiner as he proceeds to judge him just like the opening of the episode suggested that he would.
However, this judgement is not what we might expect.
Instead of condemning Reiner, like he did in earlier seasons, Eren is shown to have become more understanding of him, as showcased by Eren telling Reiner to forget his promise to make Reiner suffer, admitting that there is good and bad people on both sides of the conflict.
This is followed by the moment that breaks Reiner completely, Eren telling him that he did what he did because he was a brainwashed kid.
Reiner refutes this entirely, falling to his knees and tearfully admitting that he pushed on with the mission to attack Paradis because he wanted to be a hero and he is to blame for Eren’s mother’s death.
Reiner’s voice actor, Yoshimasa Hosaya, did such a great job with Reiner’s tearful repentance that it almost made me cry.
Reiner’s pleas for death are then juxtaposed by Willy saying he doesn’t want to die because “he was born into this world,” and this very line that Eren’s mother spoke years ago finally draws Eren’s attention away from Reiner, as shown by the subtle widening of his eyes.
Maybe Eren is experiencing some hope that he will not have to go through with his plan?
Unfortunately, any hope Eren might have for peace is shattered because Willy follows this up by proclaiming he wants everyone to help him fight the devils of Paradis.
Accepting what he must do and that he really is the same as Reiner, Eren pulls Reiner to his feet, as we get some anime original content of soldiers approaching the basement door, ready to attack Eren.
One might think upon hearing about this scene that it is a pointless attempt at diminishing Eren’s responsibility for what comes next but, thankfully, it comes across more as a way to build tension, rather than try to justify Eren’s horrific act of violence.
And horrific it is, as Eren transforms then and there, killing who knows how many civilians and even Willy Tyber himself, crushing him with massive his fist, before throwing him in the air to be devoured, like a piece of popcorn.
This scene is just fantastic with a great use of sound and music.
That said, some manga readers took issue with the OST in this scene, 2Volt.
Some took such a disliking to this OST usage that they even harassed director Teruyuki Ōmine over it, to the point that he felt depressed.
Critique a scene all you want but if you harass the people behind that scene, you’ve gone way too far.
Personally, I feel that the music worked great and the people who dislike the scene may have had their own preconceived ideas on how the it would go, making them be inevitably disappointed when it didn’t suit their envisioned scene.
Still, even though I thought this final scene was great, there is one issue I have with the episode but it is one I am not ready to deduct points for just yet.
This issue is that there is a cut scene between Willy and Magath that is crucial to understanding both their characters’ motivations.
There is a possibility that this scene could have been moved to episode six, so if we see the scene there then this won’t be an issue, however, if it’s not there, then I think we are missing some crucial development for both these characters.
Like I said though, I am not going to be deducting any points from the episode because there is always the chance of this scene appearing in the future.
Overall, “Declaration of War” is a fantastic adaptation of one of the manga’s best chapters, delivering the point of no return for Eren brilliantly.
Attack on Titan Season Four Episode Four, From One Hand to Another Review: Calm Before the Storm.
Even though I liked Episode Three of Attack on Titan’s Final Season, “The Door of Hope”, the one issue I had with it was the cutting of some pretty great scenes from the manga, like Reiner’s struggles in the beginning, Annie’s role in destroying the wall, and Reiner deciding to infiltrate the military.
However, cut content is certainly not a problem I have with Episode Four, “From One Hand to Another”, which adapts the manga chapters it covers amazingly.
Directed by Tetsuaki Matsuda, it even adds in scenes from previous chapters that we thought weren’t going to be adapted, like Pieck’s crawling gag, a scene that was memed to death by the fandom, after its absence in Episode Two.
This joke came after the opening, which followed the cliffhanger from the previous chapter, where Eren Jaeger himself was revealed to have infuriated Marley, disguised as a traumatized soldier and fittingly using the alias of Kruger.
It is in this opening scene that Eren begins his manipulation of the good natured Falco, having him deliver letters to his “family.”
Following this sinister moment, the rest of “From One Hand to Another” definitely gives off a calm before the storm vibe, with the build up to Willy Tybur’s speech at the festival.
Speaking of, we finally got to meet the Tybur’s, the family who holds the War Hammer Titan.
The head of the family, Willy, is certainly an interesting character because, despite being an Eldian himself, he is the secret leader of Marley, who is widely respected by the world’s other leaders.
It creates a striking juxtaposition when, at a dinner party, Willy is treated with respect, while Udo, a fellow Eldian, is treated like trash by almost all of the world’s leaders.
Willy’s introduction also sets Magath on the path towards being an interesting character, since it is revealed he is trying to get Marleyans to realize the errors of their ways, in being a warmongering nation, by forcing conscription to show them the true horrors of war, which the Eldians they force to fight for them experience.
Magath and Willy seem to have come to accord to save Marley, as Willy talks of how Marley is in need of a new hero, like the mysterious Helos.
Another scene also highlights this need because, while speaking to Wily in code, Magath reveals that their “house” has already been infiltrated by “rats.”
And, poetically, the scene then cuts to said infiltrator, Eren, who thanks Falco for sending his letters and now has a baseball from his “family.”
Eren even talks about how he needs to go back to his “hometown.”
Oh, the irony.
However, their conversation is interrupted by an approaching doctor who is revealed to be Eren’s grandfather.
Dr Jaeger talks with Eren, unaware that he is his grandson, telling him to stop having Falco run errands for him because, if the Marleyans suspect something, Falco and his family could be punished.
Eren retorts by bringing up the regrets Dr Jaeger must have, already knowing those regrets full well from Grisha’s memories.
This causes Dr Jaeger to have a complete mental breakdown in a creepy moment that reveals he is not a doctor at this hospital but a patient, having broken down from the pain of losing his children, which he believes to be entirely his fault.
As the real doctors lead a traumatized Jaeger away, Eren turns to the baseball and tosses it into the air.
After this strange moment, we get the dinner party scene where, as I mentioned, Udo is looked down upon because of his Eldian blood.
However, what I didn’t mention earlier is that there is at least one person who looks out for him, a mysterious, older Asian woman, who Gabi says is from the nation of Hizuru.
Once the party scene has concluded, we then get our final calm before the storm moment, as Gabi and the other warrior candidates enjoy the wonders of the festival.
This resulted in quite a few hilarious moments, primarily thanks to Gabi’s voice actress Ayane Sakura who, I have to say once again, was the best possible choice for Gabi.
Her delivery is completely on point, much like Yuki Kaji’s somber Eren voice, which will make it interesting to see how Bryce Papenbrook follows him up in the English Dub.
Back to the festival scene, we get another funny moment with Reiner.
The man has been abused physically and emotionally and now the time has come for him to be abused financially, as his wallet is all used to pay for the kids’ food.
This does make Reiner smile towards the end though so his financial pain is worth it.
What also makes it worth it is Pieck and Porco being present in this scene, as they were not there to enjoy the food in the manga.
Their scenes with the kids help make the two more relatable, especially Porco who, in the manga, is just a massive jerk.
Seeing him encourage the kids in Episode Two, and now enjoy the festival in Episode Four, really makes me like him more than in the manga, by this point.
It’s not all happiness though because Gabi just had to jinx it by hopefully stating that it felt like things were going to change, before the credits rolled.
Well, yes, Gabi, things are going to change, just not for the better as you had hoped.
No, the end credits scene crushes these hopes because Falco is manipulated into bringing Reiner down into a basement for another confrontation with Eren, four years after their last meeting.
With that, the episode left us off on a two week break until the epic episode that will be “Declaration of War.”
Still, I’m sure that the wait will be worth it and I am glad the animators got a small break because I’ve heard making the final season has been absolute hell for them.
Fingers crossed that they can perfectly adapt “Declaration of War”, one of the best chapters of the manga and, potentially, one of the best episodes of the anime, if done right.
Episode Five cannot come sooner.
Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Three, The Door of Hope Review: A Doorway to Misery.
Being Reiner sucks.
I’m sure that’s a thought that passed through many viewers’ minds upon watching the third episode of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “The Door of Hope.”
Directed by Kōki Aoshima and Hiromi Nishiyama, the episode details the many, many, many times that life has kicked Reiner to the ground and then spat on him for good measure.
If you hated Reiner in prior seasons for his actions, then you may find it rather difficult to hate him after what we see him go through, as “The Door of Hope” is primarily a flashback episode to Reiner’ time as a Warrior on Paradis.
Before the episode gets to that point though, it starts off with Reiner’s humble beginnings, as his mother revealed to him as a child that his father was a Marleyan and the only way they could all be together was if they became honorary Marleyans.
This motivates Reiner to become a hero to the world by slaughtering the “island devils” so that both his parents will be proud of him.
However, this is easier said than done because Reiner is by far the weakest out of all the Warrior candidates, as pointed out by Porco.
This causes Reiner to go full brainwashed indoctrination mode, accusing Porco of being a Restorationist sympathiser, which results in him getting punched to the ground, not the last time this will happen in the episode.
Unfortunately, it is also here that I have to state one of my criticisms of “The Door of Hope”, which is the soundtrack used for this scene.
The music itself is great but it doesn’t suit the scene at all, being more fitting for an action scene than a dialogue driven one and this drew me out of the moment.
Still, the scene makes up for it with its showcases of Annie and Bertholdt, and the symbolism.
Bertholdt helps Reiner to his feet, showing his good nature that would later be corrupted by what he does on their mission in Paradis as the fearsome Colossal Titan.
This is contrasted by Annie, who seems well suited for the Female Titan already, crushing a bug under her feet, just like she would go on to crush the numerous Scouts who got in her way when she tried to capture Eren both times.
With this characterization done, the scene then transitions into some fantastic symbolism when, while Reiner looks up at the Wall separating the Liberio Eldians from the Marleyans, on Paradis, presumably at the same time, Eren looks up at the walls separating him from freedom.
Both are trapped by walls and both are now given the opportunity to move forward past them. Reiner now has the motivation to become a Warrior so he can achieve his goal of becoming an Honorary Marleyan, and Eren is being approached by Armin with the book that will create his motivation to strive for freedom, no matter how far he will have to go to achieve it.
Following this great piece of symbolism, showing how similar Eren and Reiner are, we then get the first of many scenes that are improvements from the manga.
The first of these is the recap of six of Marley’s Titans, as we see them destroy an enemy nation’s military with a display of each of their powers and a description of their users.
The way this scene is edited with the files of each Warrior, followed by their power being shown, and this all ending with the portrayal of the Colossal Titan’s nuke attack as a “god of destruction” is way more intense than it was in the manga.
Another step up comes when Marcel is eaten by Ymir, which is framed like a scene from a horror film.
This moment came after Marcel revealed to Reiner that the only reason he became a Warrior was because he spoke up for him while criticizing Porco to the military, which he did to save his brother from shortening his lifespan by inheriting a Titan.
Marcel revealing this before he dies saving Reiner is just another in a long list of Reiner being kicked while he’s down, both figuratively and literally.
Figuratively, when he first meets his father only for him to call him and his mother a devil and run away from him, and literally, when Annie almost kicks Reiner to death after they lose Marcel.
The latter scene is particularly brutal, with some fantastic work from Annie’s voice actress, Yū Shimamura, in a scene that tells us so much about Annie’s mental state, being the least brainwashed of the trio, recognizing that both Marleyans and Eldians are liars, and only wanting to get back to her father.
However, it is following this great scene that again tops the manga, that we get a scene where the manga is clearly better, this time because of cuts.
The moment where Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt destroy the walls is almost completely cut, with old footage from season one primarily being used.
Annie’s involvement in destroying the wall, Bertholdt looking up at it upon arriving, and Reiner’s desperate fight to protect them in the chaos, is all cut for the sake of time.
Yet, while it is disappointing to see that these scenes have been left out, they are not essential to understanding the story so it is not a massive loss.
Thankfully, other, more important scenes are not cut, like the one with the villager who kills himself in the settlement after telling the Warriors his backstory.
This moment with the villager is important because it is his backstory that Bertholdt uses as their cover when he and Reiner are first introduced in season one, creating another rewarding find for viewers upon rewatches.
Another cool moment comes with Kenny making a brief cameo, as Annie tracks him to try and find the Founding Titan, only to realize this was a big mistake because of how dangerous Kenny is.
With some quick thinking and some good old kicking, Annie manages to evade the Ripper and report back to Reiner and Bertholdt, causing Reiner to decide they need to breach Wall Rose, leading to the attack in Trost.
Before cutting back to the traumatic present, we get one more symbolic scene between Eren and Reiner, as Reiner, after realizing he sees himself in Erne, encourages him to keep moving forward, a piece of advice he will sincerely regret giving later on.
Then we get another improvement on the manga, in the most gruesome of ways, with Reiner’s suicide attempt in the present.
Coming into “The Door of Hope”, I was concerned that this scene would be censored based off the trailer.
They showed the whole thing in disturbing detail and even add things, like Reiner’s gasping after he thankfully decides not to go through with it because of a miraculous unintended interruption from Falco.
And Falco’s reward for unintentionally saving Reiner’s life?
Well, running into the most dangerous person in the world of course!
The reveal of Eren in the final moments of this episode is fantastic, with some stellar voice acting from Yuki Kaiji and great added symbolism with the tree behind him.
The build up to this scene was also great, with the previous episode hyping up his appearance in a subtle way that some anime only viewers picked up on and others didn’t.
It is in his conversation with Falco that Eren lays out the very themes of the episode, as he speaks of those who push themselves into hell for hope or just for another hell, and that the only ones who know what lies beyond are those who keep moving forward.
Well, Reiner has been trying to push the door open on hope for a while now and got nothing but misery, yet Eren seems determined to find hope, even if he has to go through hell and drag everyone with him to get there.
Overall, “The Door of Hope” is a great Attack on Titan episode that does a fantastic job of showing the suffering of Reiner and what comes of it.
It looks like we have only one more episode before we get to the adaptation of the amazing Chapter 100 and I, honestly, cannot wait.
Hope you all have a merry Christmas.
Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Two, Midnight Train Review: Marley Arc Gets Uprising Arc Restyle.
Coming into the final season of Attack on Titan, I wondered if Mappa would cut or rearrange certain scenes from the Manga, like Wit did with the Uprising Arc, in order to make the story flow better.
Well, this question has been confirmed with the season’s second episode, “Midnight Train”, which adapts Chapters 93 and some of 94 and 95, skipping over Reiner’s flashback, leaving that for next week.
Whether this rearranging of scenes will be problematic or not remains to be seen with future episodes but, so far, it appears to be working well if “Midnight Train” is any indication.
Directed by Daisuke Tokudo, the episode starts off by adapting Chapter 93, although having various cuts throughout.
Beginning with the meeting between the Marleyan generals, the first scene highlights once again how Marley is falling behind other countries technologically because of their reliance on Titans in warfare.
This leads to Zeke suggesting they attempt to retake the Founding Titan to buy Marley time to catch up, saying that he will do so because he should be the one to bring an end to the plans of Grisha Jeager, as his former son.
While also revealing that Zeke has one year left in his term, this scene also unfortunately highlighted my main criticism with the episode, it’s animation.
While certainly not bad, it did have a few questionable moments, like with Zeke in this scene where his face looks oddly emotionless, with only his mouth being animated to move.
This odd animation continued in the following scene when Zeke and Colt are walking up some stairs and when Udo starts talking about the threats Eldians face.
Apparently, these two moments were made using rotoscoping, which is an animation technique.
It is used during other scenes in the episode and those all look great.
However, these two scenes with Colt and Zeke, and Udo look a little janky compared to the rest of “Midnight Train’s” animation and they pulled me out of the story for a brief moment.
Still, these are only small instances and the technique usually looks good.
Besides, the Colt and Zeke, and Udo scenes are both well done in their own right, providing great humor with Zeke’s ass wiping technique gag, and also tragically revealing the full extent of Reiner’s PTSD when he imagines Gabi, Falco, Udo and Zofia as Bertholdt, Annie, Marvel and Porco from his training days.
Speaking of Porco (Toshiki Masuda), we finally got to meet him and Pieck (Manami Numakura) this episode.
Both of their voice actors do great jobs as the characters, with Pieck being the Cart Titan and one of my favourite new characters introduced during the Marley Arc, and Porco being Marcel’s brother and the new Jaw Titan, meaning he ate Freckled Ymir to get her power.
That’s right, Freckled Ymir still dies off screen.
It’s disappointing that we still don’t have a death scene for her but it’s not like I expected anything better for her character at this point anyway.
Following these scenes, we get the titular train the episode title is referencing as we see the Eldian Warriors on one, returning to their home internment zone of Liberio, resulting in the humorous scene of Colt lifting up Gabi so everyone, including Gabi herself, can cheer for her.
Yet, there also comes a serious scene here, as Falco criticizes Reiner for apparently allowing his cousin to inherit his Armoured Titan, thus shortening her life span.
Reiner uses this moment to test Falco, resulting in two interesting reveals.
One, being that Falco’s last name is actually Grice, the same name of the man who was with Grisha in the Eldia Restorationists.
And two, that Reiner wants Falco to surpass Gabi and inherit his Armoured Titan so he can protect her from the dark future they face.
With this, the adaption of Chapter 93 comes to an end and we get a merged adaptation of parts from Chapters 94 and 95.
Starting with the Warriors reaching Liberio, we get some interesting new scenes of Porco and Pieck interacting with Gabi and Falco, acting as older siblings looking out for them.
I really liked this addition because it helps make their characters more sympathetic, also helped by all of the shots of all the Warriors reuniting with their families.
We have Zeke greeting his grandparents, Gabi hugging her parents, Reiner awkwardly reuniting with his mother, and an anime original scene of Pieck’s father coughing as he welcomes her, which introduces his illness a lot earlier than the manga does, which is a pretty cool addition.
Along with this heat warming scene, however, we also get a reminder of how war is constantly on the horizon, as the Marleyan, Koslow, scares a bunch of traumatized Eldian soldiers suffering from PTSD.
This also allows us to see Falco’s good side because he is kind enough to help one of these soldiers, whose armband has been placed on the wrong arm.
The next scene proves as a great contrast to the horrors of war because, while the traumatized soldiers screamed and fall when Koslow yells “Boom!” at them, Gabi yells “Boom!” with glee to her family, showing the extent of her indoctrination in Marleyan propaganda.
This indoctrination is shown further by Reiner having to act like the Eldians on Paradis Island are devils, comedically turning something as innocent as Sasha eating a potato into something monstrous.
On an unfortunate note, many anime only viewers seem to have misinterpreted this scene as Reiner trying to fool himself into believing this, when he is actually trying to subtly tell his family that those on Paradis are no different from them.
This may have been lost in translation because of the removal of Reiner smiling under his hand, so I wish they had kept that.
One great addition is the a brief moment that comes after this scene, as one of the traumatized soldiers is shown killing themselves, again showing the harm the Marleyans are doing by forcing the Eldians to fight their battles for them.
I love how Mappa is adding all of these scenes to show the horrors of war.
From here, the episode goes into adapting parts of Chapter 95, with the meeting between Zeke and the other Warriors, as Zeke explains their plan to take the Founding Titan with help from the Tyber family, the holders of the Warhammer Titan.
Here, we get another indication that Reiner is now fully aware of the Marleyan propaganda and indoctrination, as he realizes Zeke is hinting that the room is bugged and saves Porco, who is voicing his dissent, from endangering himself by interupting him.
With this moment, the episode ends as Reiner wonders if he really has to go back to Paradis, setting up the next episode to adapt all of his flashbacks, which is kind of worrying.
I have heard leaks about the pacing of this next episode and it makes me scared the writers could cut a lot of pivotal moments for Reiner’s character.
Fingers crossed they can do these chapters justice with just a single episode.
Back to the episode itself, “Midnight Train” is a solid adaptation that is brought down slightly by its occasionally janky animation and cut content.
Still a good episode though and I hope everything turns out alight for the next one.
BoJack Horseman Final Season Part Two Review: You do the Hokey Pokey and you Turn Yourself Around.
And so one of the greatest animated series of all time has come to an end.
What a wild, depressing, existential ride it has been.
Why Netflix decided to pull the pin on BoJack Horseman I will never understand but I am at least thankful that they gave creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg and the other writers enough time to end the show right.
And end it did, with the second half of season six bringing an end to the character arcs of BoJack (Will Arnett), Diane (Alison Brie), Todd (Aaron Paul), Princess Carolyn (Amy Seradis), and Mr Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tomkins) amazingly.
All five of these characters get great sendoffs that fit their storylines well.
As set up in the first half of the final season, many of BoJack’s past misdeeds catch up with him, especially the death of Sarah Lynn.
One thing I believed coming into this second half was that BoJack would have truly changed for the better and try to make amends for all he had done.
Well, now I can see that I clearly overestimated BoJack because he is still the painfully flawed, yet somehow still sympathetic, character he has always been.
We even learn some disturbing facts about some of the things he did that honestly made me feel a little guilty for sympathizing with him.
But the way his story ends is perfect for him and can even be viewed as a punishment of sorts.
Then there is Diane and Princess Carolyn who both get fantastic endings as well that left me very touched.
As for Todd, he continued to be as insightfully wacky as ever in the conclusion of his story, making the simple nursery rhyme of the Hockey Pokey inspirational.
The last of the main cast in Mr Peanutbutter, who I was honestly concerned about in the first half of the season.
I thought they were backtracking on his character arc but, thankfully, they follow through on it in this half, giving him a satisfying conclusion as well.
Then there is Hollyhock, with the way her relationship with BoJack developed in the wake of her learning about his horrible actions being realistic, yet heartbreaking.
As well as the characters, many of the episodes are incredible as well, especially the last two.
The fifteenth episode, “The View From Halfway Down” is actually pretty horrifying at times and is easily one of the show’s best episodes.
And then there is the finale, the perfectly titled “Nice While It Lasted”, which wraps up all the character arcs and ends on a note that hits you right in the feels.
There is a lot to love about the second half of the final season.
However, sadly, it is not perfect.
I, for one, was disappointed about how various characters got sidelined.
This is most obvious with Gina who it felt like the show was hyping up to be one of the people who exposed BoJack.
However, she and the trauma she suffered from her experience are never brought up again apart from a blink and you’ll miss it moment.
But, even though I was disappointed by this aspect, there is still so many amazing things about this final season and BoJack Horseman as a whole.
In fact, I think there is only one thing that I can say that will sum up my feelings about the show having ended.
BoJack Horseman is gone and everything is worse now.