Attack on Titan, Season Three, Episode 17, Hero Review: Greatness Begins.

5 stars

Spoiler Free Review:

I have waited to see this moment animated for a long time.
Coming into season three, I knew that “Hero” was going to be one of the series’ best episodes and, thank god, I was right.
As a manga reader, it would have been bitterly disappointing if they had screwed this up somehow, but they adapted Hajime Isayama’s story perfectly.
“Hero” is a non-stop, action packed, emotional thrill ride that will leave you both cheering and crying on multiple occasions.
If you thought things could not get any sadder after Erwin’s desperate suicide charge last episode then you have another thing coming.
The theme of sacrifice from “Perfect Game” is continued in “Hero” with an arguably worse case of it this time around.
We get to see the remains of Erwin’s own suicide squad carry out their mission in all its horrifying detail, as Levi makes his move of the Beast Titan.
This led to a scene that was so amazingly animated and satisfying that I expect many people will be screaming at their screens when they see it.
Levi’s voice actor, Hiroshi Kamiya, does a great job this episode, displaying Levi’s rage and vulnerabilities brilliantly.
The best performance out of everyone, though, goes to Marina Inoue as Armin in a gripping scene that will have you on the edge of your seat.
“Hero” definitely displays why Armin is my favourite character, and if you did not like him earlier, for some reason, then this episode will surely make you love his character.
Adding to all these greats scenes the actors voice is the absolutely amazing animation and music.
The scene with Levi is the best animated scene in Attack on Titan since he fought Kenny’s squad in the second episode of season three, “Pain.”
On top of this, the music is just as thrilling, with one new piece coming at the end bringing out all the emotion.
This is why Attack on Titan has my favourite soundtrack out of any series I have seen.
I do have some issues with the CGI Colossal Titan and the censorship taking away some of the impact, but these are so minor that the rest of the episode’s greatness far overshadows them.
“Hero” is an episode I have been looking forward ever since I read the manga, and it far exceeds my expectations.
It is already well in my top five favourite episodes.
And the best part?
The episodes are only going to get more amazing from here.

Spoiler Review:

Many people were excited to see Levi fight the Beast Titan after last episode but what we get is not a fight… it’s a massacre.
Levi absolutely eviscerates Zeke this episode, in an amazing action sequence that makes me glad the series took a hiatus to perfect this.
Zeke completely deserves this too after what he did, to Erwin last episode, and the rest of the scouts in this episode.
Watching Marlo’s last moments is just as impactful as it was in the manga, with my only problem with these moments, again, being the censorship.
I think if they showed it the way the manga did it could have been a lot more impactful.
However, given that it is already so impactful, this is hardly a major problem.
Sadly, Levi’s victory is short lived because the quadruple Titan returns to rescue Zeke who then sics the rest of the mindless Titans on him, like a pack of wild dogs.
This is Levi we are talking about, though, so he is probably fine.
That said, hearing the crushing defeat in his voice after Zeke escapes is brutal, showing how good a job Kamiya did.
We then get a look at what appears to be the sole survivor of Zeke’s attack, Floch, who is somehow unharmed.
If you did not notice this guy beforehand that is understandable, however, you should definitely take notice of him now because this is where he officially becomes an important character.
After this, the episode switches to Armin and the gang’s fight against Bertholdt and Reiner.
Coming out of his stupor from the previous episodes, Armin comes up with a bold plan to defeat Bertholdt, but one that may cause him to pay the ultimate price, unfortunately.
Using Armin as a distraction gives Eren enough time to sneak behind Berthodlt and cut him out of the Colossal Titan, chopping off his limbs in the process.
However, Armin’s distraction may prove fatal because he is horrifically burned by the Colossal Titan’s steam, yet continues his plan in a scene that defines Armin as the titular “Hero” of the episode.
I will once again say that Inoue did a fantastic job voicing Armin.
The pain she displays in Armin’s voice, with him entrusting his dream of seeing the ocean to Eren, as he is being burned alive is so emotionally gripping.
I teared up during this scene and, watching others react to it online, I know I am not alone.
Again, the one minor nitpick I have is the CGI Colossal Titan.
It is not terrible but it is a bit jarring when the shots switch between CGI and regular animation because the different is quite noticeable.
While this tragic sacrifice is happening, Miksasa, Jean, Sasha and Connie make their move against Reiner.
In the end Jean and Sasha are injured, and Mikasa is left with only one thunder spear to defeat him.
Just as all hope seems lost, who should jump in to save the day?
Hange, minus one eye.
The music of theses scenes where the scouts take on Reiner and Bertholdt is amazing and serves to enhance the emotional epicness of these moments.
Then there is the animation of Mikasa’s final attack, which is just as great as when Levi takes on Zeke.
Also the slow motion shot of Eren taking down the Colossal Titan is all kinds of epic.
The final scene of “Hero” sees Eren dragging a mutilated Bertholdt to Armin’s burned body and declaring he always knew he was a hero.
Touching and tragic, and it only to get even more so because next week is the anticipated Serum Bowl.
If you do not know what the means then hold onto your seats next week because it will be crazy.

 

Attack on Titan Chapter 116 Predictions.

Chapter 115 of Attack on Titan, “Support,”was an amazing read, with many explosive reveals that will have a lasting impact on the series.
From Levi’s uncertain fate, to Zeke’s resurrection, to Pieck ambushing Eren, the chapter had many moments that left my jaw on the floor, and wondering how these storylines would continue in Chapter 116, and beyond.
So, I decided to list my theories and predictions for the upcoming chapter, and others, to see if I get any right.
Let’s get into it.

What does Yelena plan to do and how does Onyankopon factor in?

It was clear right from the moment Yelena entered the story that she was untrustworthy and Hajime Isayama has definitely followed through on making her so.
She is essentially a crazy Zeke fan girl, who believes he is a god and will follow his every command.
This has me wondering what she and the other Yeagerists have planned for the military members who drunk the wine with Zeke’s spinal fluid, including Pyxis.
The chapter ends Yelena’s scene with her declaring that Pyxis and the others must be punished for going against Zeke.
I think this punishment will be turning him, and everyone else identified by an armband as having drunk the wine, into Titans with Zeke’s scream.
These Titans will then be used in the final battle when the world commences an all out assault on Paradis.
Sadly, this means Pyxis, Nile, and every other person in the military who drank the wine will die.
However, I do not think they will go down fighting.
Pyxis has been getting a lot of scenes with Yelena and this has me believing he will play a central role in her downfall.
Then there is Onyankopon, whose loyalties remain uncertain.
He was helping Hange in prior chapters but in “Support” he was seen working with Yelena again.
However, I believe that Isayama laid a few subtle hints in this scene that he may actually betray her.
There is a panel of him glaring at her out of the corner of his eye and, when Pyxis asks her why Yelena is thinking of saving the world rather than the island, Onyankopon questions her, showing he has not been told the full plan.
Because of all this, I think Onyankopon will begin working against her, potentially helping Pyxis and maybe even releasing Mikasa, Armin and the rest of the scouts from their prison cell.
As for what happens next, only time will tell.

What will happen to Levi and Hange?

When Chapter 115 was released and everyone thought Levi died, a thousand fans screamed out in anguish.
But, upon closer inspection, it looks like Levi actually survived the explosion.
Otherwise, Hange would not have glared at Floch when he asked to check Levi’s pulse, and she would not have taken his body when she jumped into the river.
Finally, there is Levi’s new scar.
Isayama would not go to the trouble of giving him a battle scar if he was not still alive.
So, if Levi is alive, the question is what happens to him and Hange now?
Many people have speculated about where the river will take the two and most believe they are either going to Shiganshina or Historia’s home.
It honestly could be either, or neither, at this point.
This is the one question that I do not have the slightest idea what the answer is.
Arriving in Shiganshina may seem a bit too convenient, and the reason I do not think they will end up at Historia’s ties into my next prediction.
In all honesty, I think it could be a few chapters before we figure out what happened to them.
All I can say for certain is that if Levi is going to die then Hajime Isayama will be sure to give him a meaningful, and impactful, sendoff.
The crazy fan girls would attack him if he did not.

Where are Reiner and Porco?

The reason I do not believe Levi and Hange will meet up with Historia is because I believe two other characters are going to: Reiner and Porco.
We have not seen these two since Chapter 108, and this created much confusion when Pieck was shown on Paradis without these two with her.
Since Reiner suggested an all out assault on Paradis in 108, it would be weird if Pieck was the only one sent to the island.
So Reiner and Porco must be on an important mission there that we have not been shown yet.
And, in my opinion, this important mission is to capture Historia.
This would make sense both for practical and story reasons.
Marley’s goal is to gain the Founding Titan power but, in order to do this, they need someone with royal blood.
This would make Historia and her unborn child vitally important to Marley.
As for the story reasons, Isayama could do a lot for the narrative and character arcs by having Reiner and Porco meet Historia.
Reiner had a crush on Historia when he was pretending to be a soldier, and made a promise to Ymir that he would save her.
These factors would put Reiner at odds with his mission, and could lead to more growth from him.
Personally though, I am much more interested in Historia meeting Porco.
Porco ate Ymir, who was Historia’s girlfriend, and now has all of her memories, which means he knows a lot about Historia.
Not only that but we have seen how memories affect Titan Shifters, like when Armin inherited Bertholdt’s memories.
So, both he and Historia could grow so much from meeting and interacting with one another.
Not only that, but this could hopefully lead to some more revelations about Ymir with maybe a flashback with Porco’s memories from her?
Hopefully?
In any case, I truly believe that not having Historia and Porco meet would be a massive missed opportunity.
Another thing to note is that this could finally let us know what is going on with Historia’s pregnancy.
If you have read any of my prior reviews, then you know I hate this storyline so am hoping for some kind of twist to make it better.
Maybe her meeting up with Reiner and Porco could provide this?

What is Pieck’s Plan?

After talking about Reiner and Porco, we now move on to their comrade, Pieck.
We spent five chapters wondering what she was up to when she appeared in Chapter 110 and “Support” gave us our answer.
In the cliffhanger of Chapter 115, Pieck ambushes Eren when he comes to talk to Gabi, stabbing his guard in the throat and then holding him at gunpoint.
On the surface, this seems like a stupid decision on Pieck’s part.
Her Titan is by far the weakest of the nine and Eren has three Titan powers, among them the two most powerful, the Founding and Warhammer Titan.
This puts Pieck at a huge disadvantage and, again, makes her look stupid.
But here’s the thing: Pieck is not stupid.
Isayama has shown her to be one of the smartest characters in Attack on Titan time and time again.
She managed to free herself and Porco from the hole Yelena trapped them in and, most recently, managed to sneak into Eren’s inner circle and ambush him.
Not to mention that Zeke constantly praising Pieck for her intelligence, with him proclaiming “that’s exactly right, Pieck”, has become a meme.
So, Pieck must have some sort of plan but what is it?
Coming back to my theory about Reiner and Porco going to capture Historia and her baby, this might tie into that plan.
One of Eren’s biggest motivations for turning against the military was because they planned to sacrifice Historia so he would want to protect her at all cost.
And, if the fanbase is right and Eren is the true father of Historia’s child, this would increase his desire to save her tenfold.
Therefore, maybe this is the ace up Pieck’s sleeve.
She could threaten Historia’s life if Eren does not cooperate.
Or, maybe Eren could convince Pieck to come over to his side, who knows?
Either way, if Eren kills Pieck next chapter I will be dissapointed, both because it would make Pieck look like an idiot, and because we know the least about her out of all of the warriors.
I really like Pieck as a character and what to know more about her, so maybe Chapter 116 will give us some insight into her backstory and what her true motivations are.

Who is the little girl who resurrected Zeke and what part will she play in the story?

Ymir Fritz… Seriously, who else could it be?
If the little girl who saved Zeke is anyone other than Ymir Fritz I will be shocked.
And, since Ymir Fritz has probably been introduced, then that truly shows that we are in the endgame of this story.
What I find to be the most interesting question right now is how the original Ymir will tie into this endgame?
She saved Zeke so he is obviously important to whatever her plans are.
This may make it seem like she is trying to make his euthanization plan succeed but I think her goal is quite the opposite.
I believe she may actually be trying to make Eren’s plan come true because I am almost certain he is manipulating Zeke.
Whatever Eren’s true plan is, he needs Zeke to initiate it and Ymir Fritz saving Zeke shows she is in favor of that plan working.
Maybe she is even already in communication with Eren, since he has three of the nine Titan Shifter powers.
Whether she is or not though, I am almost certain she will play a pivotal role in the story’s conclusion.
I also have a number of theories about how she may be connected to this ending, and I believe it all comes down to Historia’s child.
If you look at Ymir Fritz, she looks almost exactly like Historia when she was a child, living on her mother’s farm.
Not only that, but she has a similar pose, holding a bucket just like Historia.
As for the baby, it would make a lot of sense for Historia to name her baby Ymir because of how much she had an influence on her life.
This would technically make this child’s name Ymir Fritz since this was Historia’s family’s original name before they changed it to Reiss.
My theory is that Historia’s child IS Ymir Fritz and that she is working through paths to ensure Eren’s plan works in the past.
Maybe the series will end with Eren sending his memories of her into the past, generating the legend about Ymir gaining her powers from the devil, which may be Eren.
Although if this theory is correct, then it does raise the plot hole of what created the Titans in the first place so I am probably wrong about this.
Still, I do not think I am wrong about Ymir Fritz playing a major role in the story’s conclusion as that is pretty much a given at this point.

So those are my predictions for Chapter 116 of Attack on Titan and beyond.
I hope you enjoyed them.
Be sure to check out my review for the chapter when it officially drops in April.