Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Twelve, Guides Review: The Corruption of Shinzou wo Sasageyo.

4 and a half stars
You know, I was pretty excited for Episode Twelve of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Guides.”
It was set to adapt one of the most hype scenes in the manga with Eren’s escape from prison and meeting up with Floch and the other Yeagerists, putting on his coat as the sun sets and ready to keep moving forward.
Then, the scene happens, and it’s just as epic as I hoped it would be.
So, imagine my surprise when I see people are once again harassing Mappa over their displeasure with this scene.
Well, no, I shouldn’t say surprised because I’m pretty sure these toxic people (I will not call them fans) will find something stupid to harass Mappa over pretty much every following episode.
If you didn’t like this scene, though, again, just like the people who didn’t like Chapter 137, that’s A-ok with me.
I just want certain groups of people to stop being toxic with their displeasure to the point that they are literally harassing people.
Back to the episode itself, “Guides” is directed by Kunihiro Mori and adapts most of Chapter 110 and half of Chapter 111 pretty amazingly.
Beginning with Armin checking up on Annie in the basement of a military police base, Hitch shows up just in time to stop him from going all Shinji Ikari on her.
In all seriousness, Armin’s hurried explanations to hide his crush on Annie and Hitch saying she can’t understand why Annie is popular when all she does is sleep, which is basically Isayama talking to the viewer, are both very funny.
However, the tone switches when Armin and Hitch emerge from the basement and see a rabid crowd of Eren supporters protesting his imprisonment.
Floch and the other recruits leaking the information about Eren’s escape definitley damaged the public’s faith in the military and this is only increased by what happens after.
Before this, though, we get two scenes of investigations done by Hange and Pyxis.
The first is Yelena finally cracking under the pressure and admitting to Pyxis that she met with Eren.
She tries to paint herself as a fangirl, obsessed with getting to know Eren, which, to be fair, she was, but she is not able to pull the wool over Pyxis’ eyes to hide the true extent of her and Zeke’s plans.
As Pyxis says, the only way to tell a good lie is to mix some truth in there.
Yelena revealing that she did meet with Eren leads to Hange confronting Onyankopon about this, much to his shock.
He then tells Hange about the extremes Yelena went to when it came to dealing with Marleyans who betrayed them or were at least uncertain with their plans.
This makes it unusal that she has been supportive of Marleyan rights on Paradis, Hange notes, which will play a key role in her decision at the end of the episode.
Following this scene, “Guides” cuts to one of the episode’s big moments, as Armin and Mikasa go to talk with Zackly (or is it Zachary? Oh, nevermind) about potentially speaking with Eren.
Zackly, however, is having none of it, having already given up on Eren because he and the rest of the military now believe that Eren is under Zeke’s control.
Now, Zackly plans to pass Eren’s Titan power onto someone else… after he tortures him with his magnificent work of art that is.
Yet, Zackly is smart enough not to let Mikasa in on this but Armin manages to deduce it pretty quickly.
Before Mikasa can go in and listen to Zackly’s conversation with the candidates, though, her Ackerman senses go off and she has just enough time to cover Armin, as a bomb, on Zackly’s chair of all things, explodes, killing Zackly and his candidates to replace Eren.
The military’s commander in chief’s mutilated body then splats on the ground, in full view of the protesting public but, unfortunately, not in clear view of us due to censorship.
To be fair, censorship is nothing new in Attack on Titan and the way its shot makes it clear that Zackly was torn apart by the explosion, so the horror of the moment is thankfully still kept.
Another moment that also translates well in the adaptation is the corruption of Erwin’s catchphrase “Shinzou wo Sasageyo!” translated to, “Devote Your Hearts!”
Erwin used this to rally his troops to fight for humanity, but now it is being used to rally behind a rapidly growing, naitonalist terrorist group, the aptly named Yeagerists, with Eren at its head.
Speaking of, it is here that we come back to the previously mentioned coat scene, where Eren escapes jail, along with Floch and the rest of the Yeagerists, and heads off to find Zeke.
I really like the way this scene was shot, scored, voice acted, and transitioned into the mid-card.
In my own, personal opinion, it was a perfect adaptartion for the scene.
Following the mid-card, we get the beginning of the adaptation of Chapter 111, with the hectic meeting between the military officers and Kiyomi, which quickly dissolves into arguing, mostly at the fault of the Military Police.
Thankfully, Pyxis is there to resolve the situation, and comedically suggest they surrender to Eren.
There is a serious intent behind this, though, because Pyxis realizes that with the threat of Marley and the rest of the world now faing Paradis means they cannot have infighting, so he plans to negotiate with the Yeagerists by putting Zeke’s location on the table.
Some, like Hange and Kiyomi, are clearly not as assured by this, which is made apparent for Kiyomi when she approaches Mikasa and suggests she come to her ship if things go wrong.
Mikasa cleverly confronts her about her intent to use Paradis’ resources but Kiyomi surprises her by telling Mikasa that even though she is considered a “money pinching vixen” she still has the honour to protect Mikasa for her clan.
As for Hange, her doubt about the situation is shown by her belief that there is more to Yelena and Zeke’s plans, spurned on by Yelena’s suspicious actions, like vouching for Marleyans when she was so ruthless with them before, as I mentioned earlier.
This causes her to lead the 104th to Niccolo’s restaurant to interivew him where, surprise, surpise, Gabi and Falco have just arrived with the Braus family.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the episode ends with the cliffhanger reveal of Pieck having arrived in Paradis, likely planning Marley’s surprise attack, which Reiner advocated for at the end of Episode Ten.
In my opinion, “Guides” is another fantastic episode for Attack on Titan‘s final season and Mappa are doing a great job, especially when you consider the rough production schedule they are suffering through.
Sure, some of the shots in the episode, like one of Mikasa running, do look a little off but they are nowhere near as offputting as Pyxis’ Megamind head in “A Sound Argument.”
The one big criticism I do have about the animation is a continutiy mistake where Eren is shown in his Yeagerist outfit in a flashback.
However, this could potentially be fixed in the Blu-Ray.
All in all, “Guides” is another great episode that adapts one of Attack on Titan‘s best hype moments very well.

Attack on Titan Volume 27 Review: Bad Beginning but Fantastic Ending.

Chapter 107: Visitor.

I have a bone to pick with this chapter.
Ever since I started reviewing the Attack on Titan volumes from Chapter 73 I have never given a chapter a bad review.
Sure, there were things I had problems with but even at their weakest I still found these chapters decent.
This all changes with Chapter 107, “Visitor” and the reason for this mostly comes down to how Hajime Isayama handles Historia’s character.
In “Visitor” Kyomi Azumbito is confirmed to be working with Paradis and proposes a plan to help them defeat Marley.
Threaten them into submission by demonstrating the power of the rumbling and then wait 50 years for their technology to catch up before attacking.
However, in order to maintain the threat of the rumbling for these 50 years, they will need a Beast Titan with royal blood and since Zeke only has one year left the role falls to Historia and her descendants.
Unfortunately, to achieve this, Historia would have to sacrifice her life and that of her children by carrying on the Beast Titan through the generations.
The chapter concludes by showing that Historia is following through with this plan as she is now pregnant.
I have massive issues with this storyline.
First, let me say I understand what Isayama is going for.
He is trying to create a tragic arc for Historia where she is forced to continue the cycle of abuse her family committed to save humanity.
However, the problem with this is that it undermines all of the fantastic character development Historia had in the Uprising Arc.
The main centerpiece of this arc was Historia learning to live for herself and not fall into self-martyrdom but now Historia is going against what she learned.
All of the inspirational growth she went through has been completely undone and now feels pointless.
Even worse is how this goes completely against her character as well.
After Historia became queen she dedicated herself to helping orphans throughout Paradis.
She cared for these children and gave them happy lives so the idea that she would sacrifice her own children is quite frankly ridiculous.
It is clear that Historia’s pregnancy is incredibly important to the story but Isayama should have found a way to do it that does not contradict her entire character arc.
Sadly, this is not the only issue I had with this chapter.
It is also revealed in “Visitor” that Mikasa is actually the descendant of a lost lord from Hizuru and is thus very important.
While I did like how well this had been set up, with the big hint for the twist coming during Mikasa’s backstory in the first arc, it is starting to make the story of Attack on Titan seem far too coincidental.
I mean five of the nine Titan Shifters, the heir to the throne and an Ackerman who is also the descendant of a lost lord somehow all ended up in the same training regiment.
Historia herself seems to joke about this by comparing how she and Mikasa both have important birthrights.
This leads to Historia saying she is happy, which only serves to drive the knife in deeper when we see how depressed she is at the end of the chapter.
However, even though I did have massive problems with “Volunteer” the chapter did not completely fail.
We got some pretty good character development from Hange this chapter, the reveal of Zeke’s motives as a “true Eldia Restorationist” and a nice scene with Nicolo and Sasha’s family that continued to show the impact of her death.
Then there is Gabi and Falco who escape from their prison to grow some more character wise.
There are good moments in “Visitor” but they are heavily weighed down by how coincidental the story appears and, most of all, with Historia’s character breaking new storyline.
This is one my least favorite chapters of Attack on Titan. 

Chapter 108: A Sound Argument

3 and a half stars
I thought the reveal of who the father of Historia’s baby is would make me feel better about the whole situation but I was wrong.
In Chapter 108, “A Sound Argument,” it is revealed by Nile that the father is someone who bullied and threw rocks at Historia when they were children because he liked her.
A character bullying someone because they like them is one of the worst romance cliche’s out there but it is made worse when you consider how terrible Historia’s childhood was.
With the exception of Freida, everyone treated Historia terribly when she was child, which led to he wanting to die at the beginning of the series.
She was actively trying to kill herself, while looking like a hero to add meaning to her life, before Ymir knocked some sense into her.
So the father being someone who contributed to Historia wanting to kill herself feels like an insult to her character.
I know I have been hating on the Historia pregnancy storyline a lot but I will say I do think there is a chance for it to get better.
We oddly have yet to hear Historia’s thoughts on her pregnancy and there seems to be a few things in this chapter that hints at something more going on.
This leads me to believe there may be a twist coming surrounding Historia’s pregnancy.
Honestly, I am just hoping for anything that makes this storyline seem better to me.
Until this twist happens though, Historia’s pregnancy will remain one of my least favourite storylines of the series.
Back to the chapter review, the reveal of the baby’s father is only a small part of “A Sound Argument” and the rest of it more than makes up for the problem I have with the reveal.
My favourite scene in the entire chapter is the one where Eren’s friends talk about the implications of his recent actions and how much he has changed, leading to a fantastic flashback.
In this flashback we get to see the close connection between Eren and his friends from the 104th cadet corps.
One by one Mikasa, Jean, Connie and Sasha all offer to inherit the Founding Titan from Eren when his thirteen years are up but Eren refuses saying they are important to him and he wants them to all live long lives.
This is one of the most heartwarming scenes we have had in Attack on Titan in a long time and makes for a sad contrast to the present scene where Eren’s friends are questioning his motives.
While Mikasa and Armin are desperate to believe Eren is still on their side, Connie seems to slowly be coming around to the idea that Eren has betrayed them.
As evidence he states how Eren laughed when Sasha died, not knowing this is how Eren grieves.
However, I can understand how Connie is unable to trust Eren given that a lot of people think he is working with Zeke who turned Connie’s entire family into Titans.
I hope we get a pay off to this with Connie facing Zeke because that has been set up for a while.
Another thing I hope to see is a flashback showing Eren and Zeke meeting in Marley because Jean confirms they did talk.
Speaking of setting up scenes, this chapter appears to be setting up a new arc for Gabi, with her and Falco encountering the girl who Sasha saved in the Clash of the Titans arc, named Kaya.
Before they encounter her, the two get into a fight about Gabi refusing to remove her Eldian arm band.
Watching Gabi hysterically cry that she is “a good Eldian” as she desperately tries to snatch back the arm band from Falco serves as another scene that shows just how brainwashed Gabi is.
Their fight is interrupted by Kaya though, who brings them to her place after they lie, stating they have run away from home.
In their actual home, however, Reiner wakes up and plans are being made to invade Paradis as retaliation for Eren and the Scouts’ attack.
The Marleyan forces have also figured out that Zeke has betrayed them, which leads to the chapter ending with Reiner advocating for an immediate attack on Paradis to stay ahead of him.
I think Reiner did this so they can rescue Falco and Gabi, who are his sole reason for living, quicker rather than an actual desire for vengeance.
Still, the implications of this cliffhanger are felt at the end of the volume and seem to set the stage for the Warrior’s counterattack in the future.
“A Sound Argument” was a decent chapter.
I did not like the reveal of the father of Historia’s baby but everything else was solid and potentially set up a lot of events to come.

Chapter 109: Guides

4 stars
“Guides” is the callback chapter to end all callback chapters.
So many old characters return to the story from Flegel, to the journalists, to even the little girl who Mikasa saved all the way back in the battle of Trost.
These returning characters all serve a point in the chapter and help to show the consequences of our main characters’ actions.
The character who does this the most is undoubtedly Louise, the girl Mikasa saved.
Louise is revealed to have been so inspired by Mikasa that she helped Floch and other renegade Scouts leak information about Eren’s imprisonment to the press.
This leads to the return of the journalists and Flegel who, along with a mob, all demand an explanation out of Hange about why Eren is locked, up creating new tensions between the people and the government.
These returning characters all show the impact our main characters’ choices have had, which may be leading them to a point of no return again.
It has got so bad that Hange is even starting to doubt her position, with her remembering Sannes telling her to “break a leg” before declaring she is tired.
Hange has been going through a lot of development through her insecurities as Commander, which I believe may pay off in a big way soon.
Hopefully not with her dying though.
In comparison to Hange’s uncertainty, Floch, on the other hand, is much more certain in his goals of freeing Eren believing he is the only one who can save Eldia, which matches up with what Floch said when he and the Scouts attacked Marley.
However, while Floch is dedicated, it is almost certain that he is being manipulated by Yelena, as Pyxis points out in his discussion with her.
Pyxis points out on numerous occasions during their conversation that she has been in close proximity to both Eren and Floch, giving her the opportunity to manipulate them.
Watching Pyxis and Yelena’s discussions in this volume establishes her as one the most interesting characters right now as her true motivations, much like Zeke, remain a mystery.
However, the main focus of this chapter is not Yelena, Hange, or the returning characters but Gabi and Falco who are taken by Kaya to the home of Sasha’s family.
This can only end badly when they all learn who one another are, considering Gabi killed Sasha.
For a moment I thought it had ended badly when I saw a shot of what appeared to be Gabi stabbing Sasha’s father to death.
However, my shock about this was brief when it was thankfully revealed it was just Mikasa remembering Eren stabbing her kidnapper to death.
Still, this does not mean the situation will not end with someone getting stabbed.
As for Gabi, I know she is brainwashed but Isayama is making it a bit hard to like her at times, which is especially apparent in this chapter.
First Gabi tries to blame Kaya and the other orphans for not accepting their sins, then she tries to murder Kaya when she reveals she knows they are from Marley, and finally she says Falco should not have apologized to Kaya about her mother’s death.
This all makes Gabi fairly unlikable in this chapter, which I think should have been downplayed.
The moment when Gabi asks why Falco would apologize made her seem very callous and probably should have been removed.
That said, Gabi’s interactions with Kaya and Falco in this chapter will hopefully go on to change her world view that all Eldians on Paradis are evil.
Kaya’s kind actions may be the starting point for this because the chapter ends with her promising to help them get back to Marley since she wants to help people just like Sasha.
This ending is another fantastic way that Isayama shows the importance of characters after their deaths and may change Gabi’s point of view when she learns Sasha was the person she killed.
Overall, “Guides” is a good chapter that brings back many familiar faces and sets up a lot of development for Gabi.

Chapter 110: Counterfeit.

5 stars
Volume 27 may have started badly but it ends amazingly with its final chapter “Counterfeit.”
The chapter kicks off with Zeke finally explaining what happened in Connie’s village back in the Clash of the Titans Arc.
Zeke’s spinal fluid was transformed into gas and used as chemical warfare, blown into Ragako Village, which knocked all of its inhabitants unconscious who were then turned into Titans with Zeke’s scream.
It was good to finally get the information about what really happened in Ragako and it led to an interesting conversation between Levi and Zeke.
Watching these two mortal enemies stand off in a conversation was very intriguing.
Levi does not keep his contempt for Zeke hidden, accusing him of feeling no remorse for his actions, while Zeke seems to come across as more reasonable, although is almost certainly hiding his anger towards Levi.
While it is cool to see these two interact somewhat peacefully, it is practically guaranteed to not last long, especially with what happens at the end of the chapter.
Eren manages to escape captivity with his Warhammer Titan powers and meets up with Floch and the rest of his followers to track down Zeke.
The events leading up to this moment are nothing short of shocking and left me genuinely wondering who I should route for because it is clear now that Eren and the Scouts are on opposing sides.
This can be seen with the death of Darius Zachary who was killed by some of Eren’s followers because he was planning to have him sacrificed and his Founding Titan power given to someone else.
I did not particularly like Zachary as a character but it was still shocking to see him die in such a gruesome way.
That said, it was oddly fitting and funny that he was most likely killed because of a bomb attached to his excrement torture device first seen in the Uprising Arc.
Speaking of the Uprising Arc, it looks like the past is repeating itself because the masses are once again turning against the government, only this time the government is a side we are routing for, which makes the whole situation complicated.
I do not know whose side to take here, Eren or the Scouts.
We do not even fully know Eren’s motivations for turning against the Scouts and even Mikasa and Armin seem to be questioning him by the end of the chapter.
Attack on Titan started with these three as the closet of friends but as it has gone on Eren has moved further and further away from the two.
I love how Isayama continues to shape these three characters friendship, especially with Armin and Mikasa now wondering how much they can trust Eren.
The fact that Pieck is shown to be in Paradis at the end of the chapter makes the situation even worse.
Along with all this, there are numerous other interesting scenes.
We got another conversation between Pyxis and Yelena where she admits she did meet with Eren but only to help him shape his ideology.
She really came across as a crazed fan girl here but Pyxis points out how he knows she is lying because she did not incorporate any truth into what she said.
So what is Yelena, a crazy fan girl or an attempted manipulator with her own motives?
Either way it will be interesting what her role to play in this story is.
Another intriguing scene in “Counterfeit” saw Armin visiting Annie again, only this time he appears a lot more intimate with because he reaches out to touch the crystal.
He is then caught by Hitch who he desperately tries to explain himself to but I am unsure whether she bought it or not.
I, for one, certainly do not buy it because it seems apparent that Armin has gained some feelings for Annie over the years.
I think this has to do with him inheriting Bertholdt’s memories after he became the Colossal Titan.
If this is true it will be interesting to see in what other ways Bertholdt’s memories have affected him.
“Counterfeit” was a fantastic way to end Volume 27 because it redeemed a lot of the bad stuff that came before in the first few chapters.
The consequences of this chapter will most likely be felt across the series because Eren now seems to have fully embraced his dark side, moving towards an unforeseen goal that may have even more dire consequences.