Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 27, Retrospective Review: Animation Budget Well Spent.

In my review for Episode 25 of Attack on Titan‘s Final Season, “Night of the End”, I heavily criticized the animation issues, where it was obvious Mappa was trying to save the budget by constantly focusing on walls and trees, rather than the characters’ faces.
However, through this criticism, I pointed out that this could ultimately result in future episodes looking much better, especially episodes 27 and 28.
Well, after watching Episode 27, “Retrospective”, I am happy to see that this suspision was proven correct.
Directed by Jun Shishido, this episode is a phenominal adaption of Chapter 129, delivering some of the best animation Mappa has gifted us with in Attack on Titan so far.
It begins with the aftermath of Connie having to shoot Samuel and Daz to protect both Armin and the flying boat.
The two are clearly traumatised from this but have little time to focus on it because the fight with the Jeagerists is still ongoing, as Reiner and Annie continue to do battle in their Titan forms.
Meanwhile, on the basement steps in one of the buildings, Hange, Jean, and Magath are informed by the flying boat’s engineers that it will take half a day to service it for flight, time they do not have because Jeagerist reinforcements will be arriving soon.
More than that, Hange realizes that even by the time the flying boat is ready, Liberio will have been destroyed, with millions probably already dead.
Jean, in particular, is horrified by this, remembering himself and Connie getting drunk togethor with an old man in a flashback the anime has not revealed yet but hopefully will soon.
It is at this moment of hopelessness, that Kiyomi suggests using a ship to take the flying boat to the port city of Odiha, where they might just have enough time to service the flying boat before the Rumbling arrives.
Kiyomi admits that this is a gamble but this seems to spur Hange on, potentially reminding her of Erwin, and she goes to warn Mikasa who then warns Annie.
There is a moment of internal dialogue from Annie that is cut here, where she wonders if she will still be able to find her father, but this is not too important of a cut considering what happens at the end of the episode.
As the fight continues, Magath leads Kiyomi and the flying boats’ engineers towards the ship that will take them out of the port, leading to Reiner and Annie having to defend them from Jaegerist bullets and thunder spears, with Reiner even taking some of the hits for Annie.
Realizing that the alliance is trying to take the flying boat away on a ship to stop Eren, Floch rallies his troops, telling them that if they don’t stop the alliance then the world will take revenge on Paradis, killing all of them and their families.
This logic is hard to argue with, even though the Rumbling is a morally horrible thing, making it understandable why the Jeagerists are fighting so hard.
After Floch’s speech, we cut to Pieck carrying Levi, Gabi, Falco, Yelena and Onyankopon to the ship.
Seeing how battered Annie and Reiner are getting by the thunder spears, Falco runs in, deciding to transform into the Jaw Titan, since if Galliard were alive then he would not just sit on the sidelines.
Before Pieck can reach the ship, Magath gets there first and orders the engineers to get the ship running, before carrying an injured Armin onboard, allowing Connie to go and fight.
The alliance’s efforts may have been for nothing, however, if a train carrying Jeagerist reinforcements had arrived.
Luckily for them, it is destroyed before it can reach the port, most likely by a thunder spear.
We then get the first excellent tracking shot of the episode, as Connie flies in to save Annie and Reiner, taking out multiple Jaegerists, with Mikasa and Jean aiding him.
It is here that we get another change from the manga, with the changing of Mikasa and Jean’s internal monologue.
In the manga, their line was, “hesitate and your comrades die.”
In the anime, it’s, “hesitate and we’ll never stop the Rumbling.”
Personally, I like this change because they are killing former comrades in this battle, even if it is to save the world, so I think the “stop the Rumbling” line works better.
The fight only gets worse for the Jeagerists as Pieck and Falco get involved, with Falco transforming into the Jaw Titan for the first time, looking absolutley incredible.
I think his Jaw Titan looked a little off at times in the manga, with it seemingly changing appearance between panels, but in this episode his design is consistant and excellently animated.
As someone who likes freckled Ymir’s character, I also quite enjoyed how Falco’s first transformation in the anime seems to mirror hers all the way back in Season Two.
With the Jeagerists now breaking formation, we get our second excellent tracking shot of the episode, with Floch fighting through Falco, Hange and Pieck to get in range to shoot the ship.
Along with looking incredible, this moment is once again different from the manga where Floch actually looks quite pathetic as he screams when Pieck lunges at him.
In the anime, however, he looks nothing but determined to complete his goal.
Say what you will about Floch as a person but he has had quite the character arc going from a cowardly soldier to one willing to take on multiple Titan Shifters to protect Paradis Island.
Unfortunately for him, it does not end well, as Gabi shoots him in the shoulder, causing him to miss the ship and fall into the sea.
As the Jeagerists’ react to Floch’s fall, they notice something horrifying: Mikasa cutting through multiple people, brutally decapitating one of them and stabbing another through an already dead body.
This is another anime only moment but, unlike the others, it is not one I like, specifically because of what Mikasa does after she kills these Jeagerists.
Does she fly off to continue the fight?
Well, yes, but before that she makes sure to activate an already dead Jeagerist’s thunder spear, exploding their corpses and showering her in their blood.
Is this brutal visual cool?
Yep.
Does it make Mikasa look unnecessarily sadistic in this moment?
Also yep.
Seriously, these soldiers were no threat to her, already being dead, and, more than that, they used to be her comrades, before Mikasa had to fight them to save the world.
It’s even more jarring when you look at the previous episode and see how reluctant Mikasa was to kill her former allies.
How did she go from that to being all gung-ho about blowing up their bodies for no reason?
Much like the Louise scene from “Pride”, it just makes her seem uncharacteristically cruel.
It would have been really easy to fix this as well.
Just have the Jeagerists be about to attack her when she activates the thunder spear, which then kills these attacking Jeagerists.
That way, her activating the thunder spear is an act of self defence, rather than unnecessary brutaility.
While I’m on the subject of issues, I will mention one more that I had, this being plot armour.
This was not a complaint I had when reading the manga because I thought not many of the alliance dying in the port battle made sense, since they have numerous Titan Shifters and some of the most skilled Scouts on their side.
Watching the anime, though, did make the plot armour quite noticable.
There are a few times where bullets and thunder spears should have logically hit characters and the ship.
Still, if that did happen then we would not have a means to get to Eren so it is acceptable.
Back to praising the episode, the Jeagerists all flee upon seeing how many of their comrades are being killed, only for Falco to attack the alliance, being crazed from his first transformation, just like Eren was in Season One.
This leads Magath to cut him free from his Titan, the process of which we actually see him do, unlike in the manga which just cuts to him freeing Falco, so this is a good change.
The alliance then lead their injured members to the ship, which departs for Odiha.
However, Magath stays behind to blow up a Marleyan ship that the Jeagerists could use to follow them.
He is ambushed by two Jeagerists, who are then taken out by none other Keith Shadis, wearing his old Survey Corps uniform.
It was he who Annie saw watching over them in “Pride”.
Moved by his students’ goal to save the world, he has decided to aid them, blowing up the train of Jeagerist reinforcements.
He and Magath then run into the ship, preparing to blow it up with themselves as the Jeagerists board.
Magath says that because of Shadis’ actions he will be remembered as a hero who helped save the world, showing that Shadis was no longer a bystander in the end.
What is truly tragic, though, is that the rest of the world may not actually know this, since no one was there to see Shadis help Magath.
In turn, Shadis says Magath will also be revered as hero for his sacrifice, however the Marleyan general refuses to feel proud of himself, acknowledging his own crimes and stating how he wishes he had allowed the Eldian children he trained to live normal lives.
Shadis consoles him, saying those children would be proud of his actions now, handing him the rifle to blow up the gunpowder while the Jeagerists converge on their location.
The two share names, becoming friends in their final moments as they blow up the ship, sacrificing themselves to ensure the Jeagerists cannot follow the Alliance in a scene that is silent, except for the sombre music.
Shadis and Magath’s sacrifice is one of my favourite deaths in all of Attack on Titan and I think the anime adapted it flawlessly.
The episode is not over yet, however, because we also get an after credits scene, which is the opening scene of Chapter 130, where Annie learns that the alliance cannot save Liberio from the Rumbling, meaning that her father is most likely dead.
Hange tries to convince Annie to continue with them to save billions of people they will probably never know but Annie refuses, no longer having any will to fight without her father and confessing to Mikasa that she doesn’t want to have to fight them or Eren.
This brings an end to “Retrospective”, one of the best episodes of the final season’s second half.
Aside from a few gripes, this is a flawless adaptation of Chapter 129, in my opinion, delivering the sacrifice of Shadis and Magath excellently.
With how well animated this episode was, I am even more excited for the final episode of Season Four Part 2, which will air in the next few weeks.
However, this will certainly not be the end for the Attack on Titan anime because there is a lot more story to give.
So, it will be interesting to see if a movie or Final Season Part 3 will be announced after Episode 28.

Manga Spoilers:
One thing that intrigued me about this episode was how the opening scene of Chapter 130 was adapted at the end.
For the past six episodes, Mappa has mostly been adapting a single chapter per episode and it looks like this will continue with the next episode titled, “The Dawn of Humanity.”
However, given how short Chapter 130 actually is, due to the paneling, it makes me wonder if there will be enough content to adapt it all into a single episode without a lot of extra time.
Granted, I did suspect this would happen with Chapter 128’s adaptation and I was wrong about that, so I could also be wrong about this.
If I am not, though, that leaves the question of what Mappa will use to fill in that extra runtime?
It could add some parts of the following chapter “Rumbling” but I don’t think that would work since that is the chapter that features Ramzi’s brutal death and we have not seen the flashback introducing him yet.
This is why I think the next episode may start off by having that so far missing flashback where the scouts infiltrate Marley and party with Ramzi’s family, having their last moment of happiness togethor.
Not only would this be a good way to begin the final episode of Part Two for the Final Season but it would also be good to include because the Eremika scene from Chapter 123 would go nicely with the one from Chapter 130, where Zeke explains Mikasa’s feelings to Eren.
This moment appears to be shown in the preview for the next episode.
Since I think Eren’s feelings for Mikasa were considerably rushed in the manga, having the Chapter 123 flashback and Zeke’s talks with Eren scenes togethor would make the reveal of his feelings for her a lot better, I think.
No matter what we get, though, I am excited to see the adaptation of Chapter 130 and how exactly this story will continue.

Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode Sixteen, Above and Below Review: Part One Ending as it Began.

4 stars
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. 

Attack on Titan, Season Four, Episode Fourteen, Savagery Review: It’s Time for Round Two.

4 and a half stars
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 Seven, Assault Review: Attack on Nutcracker.

5 stars
And here I thought “Declaration of War” was an incredible adaptation of the manga.
Well, in comparison, episode seven of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Assault”, blew my expectations out of the water, in an episode that clearly surpassed the source material.
Way more dark and brutal than the two chapters it adapts, “Assault” is a visceral, heart pounding episode from start to finish that has me even more excited for how Mappa will adapt future chapters, some of which are the best in the entire manga.
Directed by Jun Shishido, the episode depicts the end of Eren and the Survey Corps’ horrific assault on the Liberio Internment Zone, where they completely demolish the Marleyan army and its prized Warriors.
Zeke, Pieck and Porco, all fall to the might of Eren and the Scouts, with only a severely injured Reiner left to stand against them by the end.
Before all of this craziness happens, though, “Assault” starts with an engaging beginning scene before the opening, hyping up the oncoming fight (if you can even call it that) between Levi and Zeke.
With Pieck and her panzer unit arriving to help Porco, numerous Scouts are cut down in a hail of gunfire, much to Mikasa and Levi’s horror.
However, Levi’s horror quickly turns to determination as his old enemy Zeke enters the battlefield and the epic fight between the two factions continues.
It is this fight that Falco emerges from the rubble to see, as Reiner managed to save them both by partially transforming when Eren began his attack.
However, Reiner is now in a bad state as a result of this attack and isn’t healing properly, which Falco realizes is because he has lost the will to live.
Reiner being absent puts the Warriors at even more of a disadvantage than they thought because, even though the Scouts are cornered in Marley, like Pieck points out, they have two aces up their sleeve.
The first of these aces comes in the form of the Colossal Titan himself, Armin, who launches an attack on the naval port, essentially tactical nuking it and killing hundreds if not thousands of people, unfortunately not all of them soldiers.
Armin sees this horror for himself because, after emerging from his Titan, he sees a small child in the rubble, looking up at him in horror, probably the same way he looked up in at the Colossal Titan when Bertholdt breached the wall, all those years ago.
How many innocent people did Armin kill in this attack?
All the haunted Armin knows for sure is that this horrifying experience is most likely what Bertholdt saw and felt on the day he broke the wall.
As for Armin’s Colossal Titan, I really have to applaud Mappa for making it look amazing as it did.
For one thing, it was entirely 2D, with not a hint of CGI.
Back when Wit Studio did their Colossal Titan in seasons two and three, it was entirely CGI to the point that it was slightly distracting but here it looked perfect.
As for the rest of the CGI in this episode, I thought it was fantastic as well.
Thankfully, the morons who threatened Mappa’s staff over the CGI last episode seem to have finally shut up about it now so this is a testament to how great everything looked.
Back to “Assault”, the second second ace the Scouts have up their sleeve is an airship that is flown to pick up the Scouts from Liberio, with Hange and a new character named Onyankopon in charge of flying it.
It is great to see Hange and Armin again, and their conversation about Armin’s planning being similar to Erwin’s shows how their character arcs will involve them trying to live up the legacy he left them with.
As for Onyankopon, I know from the manga that he is a pretty great side character, so I’m interested to see how he will be portrayed and voice acted in the anime.
In any case, their airship is a giant target, which is why it was so important for the Scouts to take the Warriors down before it got there, especially the Cart Titan with its Panzer Unit.
By the time the airship arrives, only Porco is left, Pieck and Zeke having been defeated.
Unfortunately for Porco, he screws up yet again and is defeated by Mikasa and Eren, leading to Eren using him to kill the Warhammer Titan.
I say “again” because the Warriors failing was 90% Porco’s fault here because of his complete arrogance in this battle.
Screw up number one for Porco: He doesn’t listen to Pieck telling him to stay back and protect Zeke, allowing both her and the war chief to be taken down by the Scouts.
Screw up number two: After seeing Pieck and Zeke have been defeated, he gives into his anger and attacks Eren in a blind rage, leading him to accidentally expose the Warhammer Titan’s weakness.
Finally, screw up number three: Porco doesn’t check his blind spot when going to attack Hange and Onyankopon’s airship, allowing Mikasa and Eren to dismember him, and then Eren uses him as a literal nutcracker to kill the Warhammer Titan and inherit her power.
Speaking of the nutcracker scene, wow, was that way more brutal and emotional compared to the manga.
The shots of Eren’s Titan looked absolutely demonic and the voice actor for Porco, Toshiki Masuda, did a fantastic job with showing Porco’s horror as he realized Eren is using him to kill Lara Tyber.
Another scene that is way more brutal than the manga is the deaths of the Panzer Unit, as it is shown that they have pictures of themselves and their family’s in their gun holes before they are killed by Sasha, Jean, and the other Scouts, making them much more sympathetic before they die.
Of course, there’s Armin’s attack on the port, which is also more horrifying, with the red glow giving it a real Evangalion vibe.
And then there’s the moment the episode hyped up right from the begging, Levi’s absolute slaughter of the Beast Titan.
Much like the first round, this couldn’t even be called a fight because Levi took the giant monkey down with just one hit, hatred glowing like a fire in his eyes.
Gabi, Falco and Magath then have to watch as Levi blows up the Beast Titan’s nape, supposedly with Zeke still inside, traumatizing the kids further.
The two have seen so much in the last few episodes, being betrayed and having their friends die in front of them, and this is only bringing them further into the black hole of hatred created for those on Paradis.
Gabi especially has fallen further down this rabbit hole of propaganda, now having the gate guards’ gun and declaring that she will kill Eren Jaeger.
Her and Falco’s voice actors also do an incredible job this episode, just like Porco’s, with their guttural screams for Reiner giving me chills.
It caused a response in Reiner as well, as he rises from the rubble, apparently ready to save Porco from being eaten and to face down Eren in round three.
Although, it doesn’t seem like this round will last very long considering that Reiner’s Titan is half formed, with much of its armor missing.
This is most likely due to his damaged state because of Eren’s transformation and his suicidal mindset, shown by his line of, “Why can’t you just let me die in peace!”
It does make for an epic cliffhanger, though, what with the intense music and great voice acting.
“Assault” is another brilliant episode in Attack on Titan‘s final season, delivering fantastic action, animation and voice acting.
I am now even more excited for the next episode, “Assassins’ Bullet”, and how well the chapter or chapters it covers could be adapted.

Attack on Titan Season Four, Episode One: The Other Side of the Sea Review – A Fantastic New Beginning.

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN MANGA SPOILERS.

4 and a half stars
It’s finally here!
After over a year of waiting, Mappa has delivered the first episode of Attack on Titan’s final season, “The Other Side of the Sea,” and, boy, is it a good one.
Honestly, coming into this episode, I had concerns.
There has been a number of leaks about production hell at Mappa with how complex the character designs are so I was worried the animation would suffer.
However, Mappa and directors  Yūichirō Hayashi and Jun Shishido thankfully pulled it off, delivering a fantastic first episode that gave me a new appreciation for Chapters 91 and 92 of the manga, which the episode adapts.
Directed by  Kaori Makita, “The Other Side of the Ocean” picks up four years after the defeat of the Warriors on Paradis, introducing us to a whole slew of new characters, starting with Falco (Hanae Natsuki), an Eldian warrior candidate caught in the middle of the final battle of a war.
The opening scene introducing him and his brother Colt (Masaya Matsukaze) is fantastic, with the ringing of Falco’s ears, the intense music, and the brutal imagery of the brothers’ fellow soldiers being cut down in a hail of bullets.
The war the two are involved in is Marley’s attempt to defeat the Mid-East Allied Forces by destroing their forces at Fort Salta; the Mid-East Allied Forces being a series of countries who banded together to attack Marley after they were defeated at Paradis four years ago.
This information is delivered to us in admittedly shoddy exposition, with the convenient excuse of Falco losing his memory due to a probable concussion.
Thankfully, it is a brief scene so it is not too much of a problem.
Also, this does give the episode time to introduce its other new characters, Gabi (Ayane Sakura), Udo (Ayumu Murase), Zofia (Yumi Kawashima), and Commander Magath (possibly Yukitoshi Hori), all of whom are greatly adapted from the manga.
Gabi is especially well done, with Ayane Sakura bringing the character to life perfectly because I already can’t imagine another voice actress playing her and I’m probably going to hear her voice whenever I read Gabi’s lines in the story.
Following these introductions, Gabi reveals she, Falco, Udo and Zofia are being considered by Magath for the role of the next Armoured Titan.
It is after this that we get the Final Season OP, “My War” by Shinsei Kamattechan.
Honestly, on my first listen, I was kind of unsure about it but, after repeat views, I think it’s a great opening for the Marley Arc, with amazing lyrics, and some chilling visuals towards the end.
I suppose my biggest criticism of it would be that it does occasionally use repeated shots of explosions and I think there should have been some variety.
Once the OP closes, we get the the beginning of the epic battle, with Gabi coming up with a plan to take down the Armoured Train, which is a threat to even the nine Titans, all by herself.
This plan goes off without a hitch, with Gabi destroying the Armoured Train before Falco dives in to protect her from machine gun fire.
He needn’t have tried though because the new Jaw Titan, Galliard, who has one of my favourite Titan designs, shows up to save them.
We also get a look at the Cart Titan, which has had its own upgrades in the four-year time skip, with machine guns mounted on its back to shoot at oncoming soldiers.
It is during this time that Falco saves an enemy soldier, only for him to call the Warrior candidates “devils,” showing how strong the hatred for Eldians is outside Paradis, even from their own people, as Gabi so obviously displays by how brainwashed she is into hating the Paradisian Eldians.
Then, we get the most epic moment of the episode as, in a perfect adaption, Eldians are parachuted down from an airship carrying Reiner  (Yoshimasa Hosoya) and Zeke (Takehito Koyasu).
The latter lets out a vicious roar, turning all of the falling Eldians into Titans, who crash down onto Fort Slava to a great soundtrack, which we saw a hint of in the final season trailer.
Reiner jumping down and wiping out the Mid-East Allied Forces’ soldiers with the help of Galliard, then protecting Zeke from a navy bombardment, followed by Zeke destroying that navy, were all moments that left my jaw on the floor, in terms of their quality.
One slight criticism I do have about sequence is the CGI.
Basically, almost all of the Titans in this episode are CGI and, while this looks great on some Titans like Galliard and Reiner, it looks a little off for the Beast Titan in certain shots.
However, this CGI is certainly nowhere as bad as WIT’s CGI Colossal Titan and it did not lessen my enjoyment of the events so, even if the quality of the Titans remains the same throughout the rest of the anime, I will be completely fine with that.
Following the end of the battle, we get the ED, “Shock” by Yuko Ando, which is another banger and has plenty of cool symbolism for upcoming events.
An intriguing anime only scene accompanies this song, which appears to show Jean having infiltrated Marley, hyping up a future battle that I hope is done justice with the adaptation.
This was not the only anime only scene in this episode though because there were multiple ones and, in my opinion, almost all of them improved the adaptation.
There were the anime original portrayals of the horrors of war, like traumatized Eldian soldiers, including one kissing a locket supposedly containing a photo of his loved ones, a squad of what appeared to be forced suicide bombers, and a single soldier climbing atop countless corpses.
Then there’s the added set pieces, like when Reiner has to destroy a second Armoured Train, which he then used to destroy the enemy canons, when in the manga there was no second train and Reiner used a radio tower to destroy the canons.
Another interesting change is the character redesign for Koslow.
In the manga, he looks like a normal guy but they adapted the design in the adaptation, making him pudgy and ugly, probably to make him seem like an evil caricature.
Thankfully, Koslow is a minor character with no importance in the plot so this character design change is not one I particularly mind.
What is definitely the most interesting deviation from the manga, though, is Falco, while concussed, saying that he dreamed he was flying around with a sword, fighting Titans.
This is quite a shocking change because it seems to be heavily implying that Falco is seeing the memories of one of the Scouts, most likely Eren’s.
If this is true, then this anime only scene may be crucial to predicting the manga’s ending, which I will discuss in my predictions for Chapter 136.
Overall, “The Other Side of the Sea” is a fantastic start to the final season that I actually think surpassed the manga, with its great adaptation of the source material and brilliant anime original scenes.
I was a bit worried about the adaptation going in but Mappa definitely proved themselves here and I hope they can keep up the quality in the 16 episodes to come.
Yes, I did say 16, because that seems to be how many episodes we will get, based off leaks, at least for now.
Since this is nowhere enough chapters to fully adapt the story without it being rushed and thus poorly adapted, this would spell certain doom for the final season were it not leaked that the pacing of this season will be around two chapters an episode.
Given this, the pacing will most likely be fine and we will probably get a second part of the season months from now, or maybe a movie or two to finish the adaptation.
No matter what happens though, I hope Mappa can keep up to the standard they have set with this episode and deliver a fitting final season to my favourite story of all time.