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.
Chapter 95: Liar.
Hajime Isayama’s goal for the Marley Arc so far seems to be to bring Reiner to his lowest possible point.
This started in the previous chapter, and the first one of Volume 24, “Liar,” is the continuation of this, with it going even deeper into Reiner’s backstory.
We see the rejection he experienced from his Marleyan father, which lead him to dedicate his remaining resolve to his mission and become a hero.
It does not even matter to him when Marcel reveals he badmouthed Porco so he would not become a Titan to protect him and this is the only reason Reiner became a warrior.
This once again breaks down my prior perceptions of Reiner as always being a natural born leader, with his inner thoughts at this revelation distracting him long enough for Ymir to sneak up on him, leading to Marcel sacrificing himself.
If anything, Marcel seemed to fit my original ideas about Reiner more than the man himself.
This further development of an important character and a long dead one was great and gave me a better understanding of both characters.
The flashback also delivers some Titan action, showing the Warriors training to attack Paradis with a display of all their abilities.
Among these, we get our first (and probably last) look at Marcel’s Jaw Titan, which looks very similar to his brother’s.
This seems to confirm that either their family has a special connection to this Titan or it has been enhanced, unlike with Ymir.
The rest of the chapter also delivers a few interesting reveals.
Most importantly we get the name drop of the final Titan Shifter and the family that possesses it.
This being the Warhammer Titan under the procession of the Tyber family.
According to the Warriors they are a family of Eldians who have being living the high life as honorary Marleyans but are now stepping in due to the severity of the situation.
I am interested to see what this latest Titan will be like and just how it will play into the story.
There are also a few lighter moments to go along with this as, right before this scene, Porco stumbles upon Pieck crawling on the floor because it feels “more natural” for her after spending so much time in her Titan.
This was a genuinely funny moment, made even more so by a later panel of Pieck lying on the couch like a cat.
She is definitely one of my favourites characters introduced in this arc.
Chapter 95 was an interesting one that built on Reiner’s character development and made me interested for what was to come.
Chapter 96: The Door of Hope.
Attack on Titan came full circle this chapter with the flashback revealing what really happened when Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt breached the walls and in its aftermath.
This goes to show how fantastic of a writer Hajime Isayama is because of how he has changed perceptions of these characters as the manga has gone on.
When Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt were revealed as the Titans who breached the walls it made them instantly unlikable for causing so much death and destruction.
However, as the series has gone, Isayama has slowly shown us more and more of their perspective, until now we are getting the full story.
This allows us to not only understand Reiner but Annie and Bertholdt as well, and to make these characters, who we initially thought of as evil, sympathetic is a real achievement.
The three all had moments that made me sympathize with them in this chapter.
From Reiner trying to be Marcel so he can achieve his mission, to Annie crying out that she is only doing this so she can go home, to Bertholdt hilariously trying to compliment Annie and failing spectacularly.
All of these moments served to make these characters more sympathetic and relatable, something I could not imagine being done 50 chapter earlier.
Another thing I enjoyed about “The Door of Hope” was how it served to explain so much about the three’s actions inside the walls, which until now was a complete mystery.
For example, the story Bertholdt tells when he first meets Eren and Armin, about how Titans destroyed their village, is actually taken from a man who told them his story before hanging himself.
Any other writer would have just had Bertholdt make up this story but Isayama is smart enough to actually think up of explanations to things that did not need to have them yet are all the better for it.
However, while I did like a lot of the connections Isayama made to earlier points in the story, his writing did still suffer in some areas.
This was most apparent with the cliffhanger where Reiner is being yelled at by Keith Sadies on the first day of training.
This is a continuity issue because Sadies did not yell at Reiner because the look in his eyes showed he had already been hardened.
So to see Sadies yell at him in a clear breaking of continuity was a bit jarring.
Still, this was just a small moment and the rest of the chapter is great.
I especially liked the scene where the three Warriors broke the wall because it gave us their perspective as opposed to our heroes.
It brought the story full circle, right back to where it all began.
Chapter 97: From One Hand to Another.
I said in my review of Chapter 95 that Isayama’s goal with the Marley Arc was to bring Reiner down to his lowest point.
Well, Chapter 97, “From One Hand to Another” was the culmination of all this because Reiner is more broken than he has ever been this chapter.
The continuous flashback panels of Reiner’s struggles ending with the haunting image of him with a gun in his mouth, seconds away from pulling the trigger, is something that I will remember for a while.
Reiner has gone through so much amazing growth in the Marley Arc that, in just seven chapters, he has become one of my favourite characters.
He is a character that perfectly represents the impact that war and trauma can have on a person’s life, especially when it happens at such a young age.
Thankfully, Reiner’s story is not over because, in a chance of fate, Falco unknowingly manages to distract Reiner long enough to stop him from pulling the trigger.
Reiner then decides not to kill himself while he still has those kids to protect, which may hopefully lead to him finding some peace.
But, this is Attack on Titan so Reiner is probably going to suffer some more.
This seems to be confirmed with the surprise return of Eren in this chapter, who is posing as an injured war vet to infiltrate Marley.
He talks with Falco and I realised it was him pretty early into their conversation but it was still a nice reveal.
Then there was Eren’s new look with him having long hair and a faint mustache, which I enjoyed because it actually makes him look a lot like Grisha.
I am also hopeful we will get to see the other main characters and what they have been up to in the four year time skip soon because Eren has Falco deliver a letter for him.
The attempted suicide of Reiner and Eren’s return are not the only interesting things about the chapter though.
We were officially introduced to the Tyber family this chapter, including its head, Willy Tyber, who looks to be an interesting character.
Willy is revealed to actually be the secret ruler of the country, which is intriguing because he and his family are Eldians and they are ruling a country that is oppressing their own race.
The reasoning behind this will hopefully be revealed soon.
We also got a very interesting moment at the beginning of the chapter where Annie was revealed to have briefly fought Kenny during her time in the 104th Cadet Corps.
This does not really have an impact on anything but it is still interesting seeing the ways Isayama can bring long dead characters back into the story.
Overall, “From One Hand to Another” was my favourite chapter of this volume with its numerous reveals and heartbreaking scene with Reiner.
Chapter 98: Good to See.
What a way to end Volume 24 .
Chapter 98, “Good to See” is full of emotional scenes and what I believe to be numerous hints at future reveals.
What stands above all these features though is the amazing cliffhanger that has me eager to read the next volume.
After Eren was revealed to be in Marley in the previous chapter, he begins to initiate his plan, culminating in him manipulating Falco to arrange a surprise meeting between him and Reiner.
The final panels of this chapter were just fantastic because they perfectly expressed what both characters were feeling upon being reunited.
For Reiner it was shock and horror but for Eren it seemed to oddly be some degree of happiness based off his statement, “good to see you made it back home.”
The reason for Eren’s supposed happiness will hopefully be revealed in the next chapter.
Either way, this was a great way to end the volume and the scenes leading up to this moment were likewise fantastic.
Watching Eren slowly manipulate Falco was interesting, especially when it lead to him meeting his grandfather for the first time.
This was a very heartfelt scene where Eren’s grandfather reminisced on the loss of his son and daughter before suffering a mental breakdown and having to be dragged away by doctors.
However, the scene goes from heartfelt to sinister when, in the scene’s final moments, Eren picks up a baseball he told Falco was from his family and tosses it into the air.
On the surface this moment may seem insignificant but, based off things that came earlier in the chapter and the series, I believe this to be very important.
This is because at the beginning of the chapter Zeke played baseball with Colt and during the Shiganshina Arc Zeke made a reference to it when he wiped out most of the scouts.
Also, there is the fact that Eren tells Falco the baseball came from his family, which all seem to hint at Eren and Zeke having meet in secret.
If this is the case, I wonder what their meeting could have been about since both appear to be on opposite sides?
Personally, I would really like to see a scene where the two talk because we have not seen a full conversation about their family connection between the two yet.
Another hint at upcoming storylines appears to be the new character who was introduced, an Asian woman said to be from the land of Hizuru.
Given how Mikasa was the only Asian character in the story up to this point, I think there could be a possible connection, with her mother possibly coming from this land.
The woman also does seem to be on the side of the Eldians, given that she protects Udo from punishment when he accidentally spills wine on her kimono.
I also enjoyed the political commentary used with Willy in this chapter when he explains the burden of ruling his country to be like turning a wheel.
This felt very Game of Thrones inspired, which would make sense because I have heard Isayama has taken some inspiration from it.
“Good to See” was an overall great way to end Volume 24 with numerous possible hints at future reveals and a few emotional moments.
The cliffhanger alone has me excited for the next volume and was the perfect conclusion to Reiner’s arc this volume.