Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 28, Dawn of Humanity Review: The Horrifying End of Part Two.

Another year, another finished part of Attack on Titan‘s last season, with the final part coming in 2023.
There was a lot of speculation about how Mappa would follow up Part Two, when it became clear that they could not adapt the rest of the chapters in the time they had left.
So, it would either be a movie or a Part Three and it turns out that it’s the latter, although I will say that they should have just labelled these parts as different seasons, since there’s such a significant gap between them.
Either way, the last episode of Attack on Titan the Final Season Part Two, “Dawn of Humanity”, directed by Hidekazu Hara, Mitsue Yamazaki and Tokio Igarashi, is a fantastic ending for this section of the story and very well adapted from the manga.
In my review for the previous episode, I speculated that this episode would also adapt the missing flashback from Chapter 123 because I thought they would go quite well with the events from Chapter 130, which the episode would be adapting.
Turns out I was right because “Dawn of Humanity” begins with that missing flashback, preluded by Mikasa wondering if Eren really never changed and, if that is the case, what she saw in him.
We then get the actual flashback, which sees the Scouts infiltrating Marley, with the hope of connecting with a group that protests for Eldian rights.
This mission starts off almost disasterously and definintley humorously, as Connie and Sasha both nearly break their cover by talking about leaving the walls of Paradis out loud, to which Jean has to reprimand them for.
The Survey Corps then begins their scout of enemy territory, with even more humorous events, as Sasha eats ice cream for the first time, she, Hange and Connie chase down a car to feed it carrots and, funniest of all, Levi is confronted by a clown who mistakes him for a kid.
Yet, the scene turns serious whenever it changes to Eren, as we now know that he had his future memories during this mission, so he was aware that he was going to kill most of the people the group are currently interacting with.
While this scene is happening, Mikasa reflects on how they did not notice this or maybe did not want to notice, and I think it is the latter, since she looks concerned for Eren on multiple occasions.
The scene then turns more serious, when Levi stops a migrant kid from pickpocketing Sasha, calling him out in front of everyone.
However, he and the rest of the Scouts quickly realize this was not the right call because it is like a switch is flipped in the Marleyans’ heads and they all become racist psychopaths, wanting to toss the boy in the ocean to drown, smash his hand, or hang him.
Levi then steps in, picking the kid up and claiming he is actually Sasha’s brother, to which she and Hange play along with, before the group flee, taking the boy to saftey, only for him to pickpocket Levi before departing.
The Scouts then go to visit Kiyomi, discussing their plan to meet in secret with the Eldian rights group, to which Kiyomi is skepticial will result in anything, but Hange insists they have to try.
Mikasa then notices Eren is missing and runs outside to find him looking over a refugee camp where the boy they saved and his family are staying.
Eren hides his tears from her and when Mikasa asks Eren if something happened to the boy, Eren chillingly replies, “nothing yet”, again indicating to the audience that he has future memories of the Rumbling.
Eren then abruptly asks Mikasa why she is so determined to protect him, questioning what he is to her, to which Mikasa gets flustered and responds that he is family.
They are then interrupted by the young boy’s grandfather, who invites them and the rest of the 104th Scouts to drink with them.
This results in honestly one of the most heart touching moments of the series, as we see the 104th happy togethor for the last time before Eren went rogue.
What makes this even better is the music that is playing because it is the same one that played when Grisha lead Faye outside the walls, leading to her death.
Thus, this scene is yet another moment of final happiness before everything goes wrong.
For this final moment of happiness, we see everyone surprised by how quick Eren is to drink, them all partying togethor, the young boy flinging himself into Eren, Sasha puking in a pot, and Levi, Hange and Onyankopon being mortified as they find the group passed out drunk.
Then comes the moment where it all goes bad, as the scene cuts to the Scouts going to the meeting of the Eldian rights group in the morning, only for this group to condemn the Eldians on Paradis island, just like almost everyone else in the world does, leading to Eren leaving.
In the present, Mikasa now wonders if Eren would have taken another path if she had given him a different answer when he asked what he meant to her.
Honestly, though, I have never really been able to see this as happening.
Even if Eren does return Mikasa’s feelings, I cannot see him taking a different path than the one he has because of who he is as a person.
The episode then cuts to the adaptation of Chapter 130, beginning from Eren’s perspective as he wonders where everything started, if it was the day the walls fell, when the pigs were freed, or maybe from the moment he was born.
Eren then decides that it does not matter because everything that has happened is according to his will.
We then get another flashback, as we see Yelena tell Eren about Zeke’s Euthansia Plan, with Floch secretly listening in.
Eren and Floch then have a private conversation where Eren reveals to him that he plans to destroy the world, stating that they will play along with Zeke until they have the oppurtunity to betray him.
Floch actually looks pretty shocked when Eren says he will kill everyone outside the walls, making me wonder if he was always so gung-ho about this plan or if he needed a little persuading from Eren.
Then we finally see Historia after so long, with Eren going to visit her to tell her his plan.
This scene starts with the two of them discussing the implications of the 50 year plan, where Historia will have to sacrifice herself and her own children by continuously inheriting the Beast Titan.
Historia is still bizarrely okay with this plan, seemingly having forgot all of the character development she recieved in the Uprising Arc, but thankfully Eren is not okay with this, revealing to her his true plan to which Historia is understandably horrified.
She tells Eren that if she does not try to stop him then she won’t be able to live with herself, but Eren says that she can because she is “the worst girl in the world,” calling back to the time she saved his life in the Uprising Arc.
This seemingly convinces her to stay quiet about his plan.
We then get another flashback scene, this time between Eren and Zeke in Liberio, as Eren questions Zeke about his theory that Mikasa’s Ackerman blood makes her a slave to him.
Zeke, however, reveals that Eren’s suspicions are entirely wrong and that there is no Ackerman instinct to protect a host, meaning that Mikasa protects him because she truly loves him.
Although, one question I do have is what caused Eren to come to his wrong conclusion about Mikasa’s Ackerman blood in the first place.
I mean, we know he lied to her about it to push her away, but he seems to have thought it was true back in Liberio, so why did he think so before Zeke disproved it?
In any case, Zeke then questions what Eren intends to do about Mikasa’s feelings, but Eren says he only has four years to live and he wants all of his friends to live long lives.
Intercut among this sequence, we see Eren cutting off his own leg and gouging his eye out with a bullet to act like a wounded soldier in Liberio and, weirdest of all, Historia asking Eren if she should get pregnant.
After this scene, we then return to the present for the final, horrifying scene of Part Two, as the Rumbling finally arrives in Marley.
The world’s naval fleet are waiting for them but their efforts are completley useless, as there are literally millions of Colossal Titans advancing on them from the sea.
The military alliance only manage to take out a couple of the Walls Titans, before they swim right below their ships, the heat incinerating every soldier aboard, which is a much more ghastly display than the one in the manga.
The Wall Titans then emerge from the ocean and march towards the ground forces, who also have no effect on the wall of death fast approaching.
Eventually, the fear wins out and the soldiers run, only to turn back and see Eren’s gigantic Titan form emerging from the ocean as well.
This horrifying image is accompanied with a soldier title dropping the series, “Shingeki no Kyojin!”.
As the Rumbling finally begins its process of destroying the world, Eren’s inner monologue states that he will wipe out every last one of them, while remembering his mother’s death, bringing a close to Part Two’s last episode.
“Dawn for Humanity” is a phenominal episode that adapts Chapters 123 and 130 very well.
I especially have to praise Mappa for their work on the CGI Colossal Titans.
They have definitley improved their CGI from Part One.
The only criticisms I have for this episode are that I still think Historia accepting the 50 year plan goes against her character, and that the ending to the series itself undermines some of Eren’s scenes.
That last point obviously factors in manga spoilers, so I will be discussing that down below rather than here.
Despite these issues, “Dawn for Humanity” is still a fantastic ending for the Final Season’s second half, and it makes me even more excited for the future adaptations of great chapters like 131, 132 and 134.

Manga Spoilers:
I said in the spoiler free section of this review that one of my criticisms comes from my belief that the ending to the manga undermines some of Eren’s scenes.
However, I want to start off the manga spoilers section positively, so instead I’ll begin by discussing how the merging of the Chapter 123 flashback and Chapter 130 into a single episode could improve one aspect of the ending: this being Eremika happening.
Eren’s feelings for Mikasa honestly feel very sporadic to me in the manga.
I can only pinpoint three moments before the ending where it looks like he might return her feelings, these being Chapters 50, 123 and 138, with the remaining 135 chapters being him either treating her like family or pushing her away.
Yet, I think that pairing up the Chapter 123 flashback, where Eren asks Mikasa what he is to her, with the scene in Chapter 130 where Zeke discusses Mikasa’s feelings for Eren, does hit it further home that we are heading towards an ending where Eren’s feelings for Mikasa will be confirmed.
I don’t think it fixes the rushed nature of the reveal entirely because, again, Eren’s feelings for Mikasa are quite sporadic in their portrayal, but it does improve it so I think more people will be accepting of it watching the anime than in the manga.
With that positive out of the way, I now have to move onto my criticisms, because while I think Eren’s feelings for Mikasa may be recieved better in the anime, I don’t think the reveal of Eren’s true plan will because of how much it contradicts his actions in this episode.
The ending reveals that Eren knew he would be stopped before he entirely destroyed the world, so this raises the question of why Eren lies to Historia about the Rumbling.
She is horrified by it and initially wants to stop him and Eren could have calmed her down somewhat by telling her that he would be stopped.
Instead, he says, “the only way to end this cycle of revenge fueled by hate is to bury our hate-filled history along with civilization itself.”
It makes sense why Eren lied to Floch about the Rumbling, since he needed him to help start the Jeagerists, thereby allowing Erein to get into contact with Zeke, but lying to Historia served absolutley no purpose.
It makes Eren seem quite contradictive at the end.
I have heard some argue that Eren only learned he would not succeed in destroying the world after he gained complete control of the Founding Titan which, if true, would explain this plot hole because it would mean Eren didn’t lie to Historia.
However, this is stated absolutley nowhere in the manga, with Eren and Armin’s final conversation seeming to contradict this theory as well.
Another weird moment about this scene, which I was surprised to see wasn’t cut, is Historia asking Eren if she should get pregnant.
This was weird in the manga and it is weird here because it seems to be hinting that there is something about this pregnancy we don’t know about but there really isn’t.
Historia just forgot her entire motivation to live for herself and was paried off with a nameless nobody, who contributed to her wanting to kill herself at the beginning of the story, and then she was sidelined with a degrading pregancy subplot for the rest of the story (Yes, I still hate how Historia’s character was treated in the final arc. How could you tell?).
As for Eren, there is another moment where his dialogue makes no sense when considering the ending, this being the final scene of “Dawn of Humanity.”
Here, Eren’s own inner monlogue states that he will wipe out every last one of them.
Again, this is contradicted by what happens in the ending, with Eren knowing he will be stopped.
Coming into the episode, I thought this line would be delivered in a flashback to when Eren said this as a young boy after his mother’s death.
That would have made this moment make sense because it’s not the Eren who knows he is going to be defeated speaking, but the young kid mourning his mother.
Yet, this is not what we got.
Instead, it is adult Eren thinking about how he will wipe everyone out when he should know that he won’t.
This also completley debunks the theory that Eren learned he would lose after gaining the full power of the Founding Titan.
The ending makes a lot of Eren moments in this episodes, and a lot of moments before and after, make no sense.
Thus, the hindsight of the ending really makes these scenes have less impact for us manga readers and will produce the same effect on anime only viewers when they rewatch the series, in my opinion.
But, hey, despite the lackluster ending we will most likely still be getting when the Final Season Part Three comes out in 2023, at least we will still have some amazing moments from the manga to look forward to.
So, until 2023 Attack on Titan. 

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, the Final Season, Episode 26, Traitor Review: I Stand Corrected.

In my review for Episode 24 of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Pride”, I talked about the announcement that the remaining four episodes would all only cover a single episode.
I expressed concern about this decision because I felt that most of these episodes, most notably Episode 26, “Traitor”, would suffer from pacing issues and need a bit of recap and filler.
Well, after watching “Traitor”, I can say that I was definitley wrong about that.
Directed by Teruyuki Ōmine, “Traitor” is a definite improvement on the previous episode, with the animation being much better, a few rare instances aside.
I speculated in my review for “Night of the End” that the reason the animation focused constantly on walls and trees was because they were trying to save the budget for the last three episodes and, given how good some of this episode looked, I can say that this budget is being put to good use.
“Traitor” begins with Hange and Floch overlooking the port, which the Jeagerists, lead by Floch, have taken over and taken Kiyomi Azumabito hostage.
Magath wonders why the Jeagerists have not yet destroyed the flying boat, which they could use to reach Eren, and Hange speculates that it is because they still want its technology.
Yet, if they see any sign of the alliance, they will destroy the flying boat so alliance need to do whatever it takes to protect it.
It is at that moment when Hange notices smoke rising from the water, showing that the Wall Titans have swam all the way to Marley.
Now, I will say that the animation for the smoke felt a little stilted because I could not even tell it was Titan smoke until Hange pointed it out.
This is just a minor issue, however.
Once the opening is over, the scene then cuts to the rest of the alliance, who are preparing for a confrontation at the port, with Annie saying they have to kill all of the Jeagerists to secure the flying boat.
Armin, Mikasa Jean and Connie are understandably reluctant, seeing as they know many of the Jeagerists personally, wanting to find another way.
However, both Annie and Pieck point out that there is no other way, since they need the Azumabito’s mechanics to repair the plane so Onyankopon can fly it, which they will not have time to do with the Jeagerists approaching.
Eventually, though, Annie relents, confessing that the 104th have no reason to help them, yet are doing so, suggesting that they would not have destroyed the wall that day.
This causes Reiner to realize exactly what Eren meant when he told him that they were the same, leading to him offering to take care of the Jeagerists with Annie and Pieck while the 104th hold back.
Hange is not having this though, revealing that the steam in the water she saw means that the Rumbling has already reached Marley, Eren’s genocide having already begun.
Desperate, Magath attacks Yelena, breaking her arm and demanding that she tells them where Eren went, only for Yelena to instead declare that she no longer wants to die until she sees how this ends, stating she might tell them where Eren is if they take her with them.
Magath then bows his head to Mikasa, Armin, Jean and Connie, apologising to them for speaking about justice the night before, now admitting his own sins and declaring that they have to teach future generations to avoid this bloodshed.
This is an impactful moment of growth for Magath, although this impact is lessened slightly by one wide shot where Magath’s face is all scrunched up in a weird case of animation.
The effect of his speech is still the same, however, as Armin refuses to look past Magath’s actions, stating that they cannot stand by with clean hands.
Afterwards, the scene transitions to Floch lecturing Kiyomi about how the Rumbling will result in the absolute destruction of her homeland, Hizuru, saying she and her mechanics should just devote themselves to helping Eldia.
The shot then cuts to some Jeagerists dragging out the dead bodies of Kiyomi’s guards, showing the threat in Floch’s words.
Kiyomi, however, is not intimidated, instead pointing out that the Rumbling will just make humanity smaller and violence will always continue.
Floch admits she has a point but then turns this on her, saying that it is for that reason she has to remember her place, putting a gun to her head.
Before he can do anything, Floch is interrupted by Armin and Connie’s shouts, the two rushing into the port on horseback, acting as if they are chasing Reiner and Pieck, shouting that they need the flying boat to be set up so they can catch them.
This causes enough confusion to allow the two of them to reach the flying boat, where they find Samuel and Daz preparing to blow it up.
For those who do not recognize them, these are both Season One characters, Samuel being the one who Sasha saved when the Colossal Titan attacked by impaling his leg with her ODM Gear, and Daz being the scared soldier who considered deserting and was revealed to have been saved by Historia and Ymir in a flashback.
One thing I was kind of disappointed by was that the anime did not build up to these two’s reappearance this episode with some new scenes.
Them showing up again after so long just to die was a bit abrupt in the manga, even if it served its purpose, so I was hoping the Final Season would add a couple scenes to re-estblish them, creating a bigger impact when Connie has to kill them at the end of the episode.
Nothing huge because, again, they only come back to die, but I think a few extra scenes or lines for them prior to this episode could have helped, like that anime only moment of Louise getting fatally injured by the Thunder Spear rather than just showing her on her deathbed.
Either way, the scene between Armin and Connie, and Samuel and Daz plays out the same as it does in the manga, with Armin and Connie managing to convince the two of them that they are not trying to stop the Rumbling because it would doom their island.
That said, I do wish the alliance had some kind of back up plan for if they stop Rumbling.
I know it’s a complicated situation but them just winging it seems quite foolhardy, considering that the rest of the world seems to unanimously want them all dead.
Even though Daz disconnects the detonator, him and Samuel quickly realize how terrible Armin and Connie’s poker faces are.
What makes the situation worse is that Floch decides it would better not to take chances, so aims his gun at one of the Hizuru mechanics, only for Kiyomi to take him down with ease, causing shots to go off.
While it is a bit weird for such an older woman to take down a trained soldier so quickly, I suppose it could be explained by Kiyomi having some training in case of assasination attempts since she’s a political figure.
Make no mistake, though, Kiyomi would have been doomed had it not been for Mikasa, who crashes through a window and takes out the attacking Jeagerists, leading Kiyomi and her mechanics towards the basement, along with Hange, Jean and Magath to take cover, as the Jeagerists shoot Thunder Spears.
With the group now in the basement, it gives space for Reiner and Annie to attack the Jeagerists freely, transforming behind Floch with some spectacular animation.
This seems to further validate my theory that the animation for “Night of the End” was purposefully limited to save the budget to animate the action scenes of “Traitor” and the following final two episodes.
Although, I will say that the Female Titan CGI looks a little off, compared to the rest of it.
Cutting back to Connie and Armin, Armin is shot in the face by Samuel when he tries to stop Daz from reconnecting the detonator to blow up the flying boat, and Connie tackles Samuel when he is distracted by Reiner and Annie transforming, the two wrestling for the gun.
Armin again attempts to stop Daz, and I must say I was quite surprised with how little censorship there was surrounding Armin’s injuries.
I expected it to be covered with Titan steam and, while there is some, the gory image of Armin’s unhinged jaw and missing teeth is still intact.
As Daz holds a gun to Armin’s head, and Samuel cries out that he thought he and Connie were friends, Armin remembers Bertholdt saying someone has to stain their hands with blood, showing how they are all now on the same level.
Connie then rips the gun from Samuel’s hands, using it to kill both him and Daz, before screaming out in the agony of his guilt.
This scream is entirely anime only and was a perfect touch to the scene, in my opinion, really emphasizing the trauma this act has inflicted on Connie.
To be honest, Connie is a character who I have never really cared for that greatly.
I certainly don’t dislike him but, compared to the rest of the main cast, he falls short in my mind.
Yet, I have always found this scene to be Connie’s defining moment as a character.
The moment that he truly stands out, and I think the anime depicted this scene perfectly.
It makes me even more excited for how Chapter 129 will be adapted next episode, which is another one of my favourite alliance chapters, alongside Chapter 127.
Let’s just hope it is animated better than Episode 25, although I think it will be based on the animation quality of this episode.
“Traitor” is a solid episode of Attack on Titan and I stand corrected in regards to the concerns I had going in.

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 25, Night of the End Review: The Weakest Adaptation.

I was quite excited coming into Episode 25 of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Night of the End.”
The reason for this is that I consider the chapter the episode adapts, Chapter 127, to be one of the best alliance chapters.
It certainly leaves a better impression after the weak coming togethor of the alliance in the previous episode.
So, imagine my disappointment when I saw the clear animation issues in “Night of the End.”
It was blantly obvious when watching this episode that there were problems with the budget, resulting in what I think is unfortunately one of the weakest adaptations of a chapter in the entire anime.
Directed by Mitsue Yamazaki, “Night of the End” begins with Jean imagining his future in a post Rumbling world, where he is married to a woman who appears to be Mikasa and has a child with her.
This high life in the interior with a family has been Jean’s dream from the beginning, however, he is naturally dragged away from it by his morals when Hange shows up and calls him outside to meet her and Mikasa.
Taking refuge in an abandoned house, Hange announces to Jean and Mikasa that she has joined up with the remaining Marleyans to stop Eren, asking for their support.
Mikasa is quick to agree, not wanting Eren to massacre the billions of people outside the walls, yet Jean is more cautious, understandably pointing out that if they stop Eren then the rest of the world will most likely destroy them.
This all leads to Hange recalling her dead comrades in a similar way to how Erwin did in the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
Here, Hange implies that characters like Erwin and Miche would have been against the Rumbling, a subject that still inspires debate among manga readers, even after the ending.
Whatever your thoughts are on this implication, though, the effect Hange’s words have on Jean is clear, as he also imagines seeing Marco looking at him with a reassuring look, convincing him to take a moral stance rather than a logical one.
This is who Jean is.
When push comes to shove, he has always put his own morals first, even if it impedes his goals of earning a nice life for himself.
He is such a great character and his development in this episode only gets better, which is why it is such a shame that the impact this beginning scene could have had is watered down significantly by the animation issues.
Instead of focusing on Jean, Hange and Mikasa’s expressions as they discuss stopping Eren, the shots focus on the walls and windows.
It is quite clear that they are trying to save the budget for future episodes, which is understandable, but it comes at the expence of this episode.
Once this scene is over, we then cut to the main focus of “Night of the End”, which is the campfire talks and arguments between the Scouts and the Warriors.
If you thought that there was not enough conflict during the formation of the alliance last episode, like I did, then this episode alleviates some of these issues by giving us that conflict.
It begins with Magath, who states that the Scouts have finally learned which side is standing for justice, an absurd statement given all that he has done, which Jean rightfully calls him out on, pointing out that if they had never attacked then Eren never would have started the Rumbling because his mother would not have been killed.
Hange eventually puts an end to this back and forth argument, only for Annie to ask an important question: can they kill Eren?
When Armin suggests talking to Eren first, this leads to Annie stating that if she or any of the other Warriors try to kill Eren, then they will just try to stop them, especially Mikasa.
Mikasa takes this as a threat, advancing towards Annie.
Although, advancing is probably the wrong word here.
In the manga she advances on Annie, here she just draws her sword because, again, it really feels like there were some budgetary issues at play.
To be fair, though, this is certainly not as bad as the other animation issues, it’s more of a minor thing.
The impact of this moment is still there, with Annie and Mikasa eventually coming to an understanding, as Annie explains she just wants to save her father and if Eren can be convinced to stop then it will be fine by her.
The reason this impact still holds is because we get clear shots of both of these characters’ faces while their conflict is playing out, which unfortunately cannot be said for the next scene, where Magath asks Yelena where Eren is.
What do we focus on this time?
Trees.
An important discussion about the location of the protaganist turned antagonist is happening and we’re focusing on random trees instead of the characters we are following.
Thankfully, the shots quickly cut back to the characters when Yelena is called out for secretly being a Marleyan by Pieck, leading Yelena to calling out everyone at the campfire for their prior crimes.
Jean hits back by sarcastically mocking her, acting as though she said all of this just to clear the air.
This was a mistake on his part, though, because Yelena is certainly vindictive, using Jean’s sarcasm as an oppurtunity to create more conflict by bringing up Marco’s death, leading to Reiner finally revealing to Jean what really happened to his friend… while the shots focus on the trees once more.
Again, we should be focusing on the characters’ inner turmoil through their facial expressions, not random bits of the environment that have no meaning.
Oh, I have heard some state that the extensive focus on the trees was actually symbolism for the escaping the forest theme but this theory rings hollow for me.
If the shots of the trees were quick and we spent most of the time on the characters, I could buy it.
What I can’t buy is the person who storyboarded the episode deciding to mostly focus on trees during an entire complex conversation for the sake of symbolism that would have only taken a few shots to convey.
Not to mention that the random shots of the wall in the opening scene undermine this.
If the trees were supposed to convey the escaping the forest theme, then what the heck was the point of the wall and window shots, that the characters were confined but had a window out or something?
Thankfully, we actually focus on the characters when Jean snaps and attacks Reiner after he expresses his guilt for killing Marco and aplogizes.
I can also praise this scene for how well Jean’s beatdown of Reiner is animated.
What stops Jean from beating Reiner further is Gabi, who jumps in front of one of his kicks, before she and Falco beg Jean and the rest of the 104th to help them stop the Rumbling, as Gabi profusely apologises for her prior hatred of them, completing her redemption arc in my mind.
Jean is still understandably conflicted and marches off, while Levi sits up and complains that the group is being too noisy.
While this is a good gag, I am disappointed that we did not see Levi call Annie out for killing his Squad all the way back in the Female Titan Arc.
I’m not saying he would deliberately endanger the mission to get revenge on her but I think he should have at least mentioned Petra’s father coming to him after Annie killed her.
This could have lead to some interesting development for Annie, who is trying to get back to her father and is now forced to contemplate how many parents she robbed of ever seeing their children again.
It could have been a fantastic moment of self reflection for her and I think it was a real missed oppurtunity.
What is not a missed oppurtunity, however, is Magath’s development because, despite showing his Marleyan racism earlier in the episode, he now reaches out to comfort Gabi, before pulling back as he realizes what he is doing, the conflict in him clear.
Where this conflict goes I will not spoil but I am looking forward to it.
The next morning Gabi is awoken by Jean who says he will still help them stop the Rumbling, once again proving himself as a moral person, before he humorously yanks Reiner awake, stating that his injuries should have healed by now.
Jean is definitley the highlight of this episode.
Following this, the alliance head off to the port to try and find Kiyomi Azumabito’s plane, which they hope will help them reach Eren.
During this time, Jean apologizes to Gabi for kicking her but tells Reiner he will not be getting an apology to which Reiner accepts.
However, there is a cut here that quite damages this scene, in my opinion.
This is the following line from the manga where Jean says he cannot forgive Reiner, to which he also accepts.
Annie then interjects by asking if she could ever be forgiven.
The forgiveness lines are cut from the anime, so when Annie asks “and me?” it appears that she is asking Jean if he will apologize to her, to which I say, “for what?”
Annie was rightfully called out for her part to play in Marco’s murder.
She is the one who should be apologising, not Jean.
The anime really damaged this moment because it makes Annie look uncaring and selfish, rather than seeking forgiveness for Marco’s death.
Unfortunately, this is not the only cut scene that involves Annie because, when Reiner is beat unconcious by Jean, we see Annie caring for him in the manga but not in the anime.
This is not a huge detail but it was a nice moment of showing Annie’s sympathy and I wish it was kept.
Back to the final scene, as the alliance approach the port, Pieck arrives to announce that the Jeagerists have taken control of it, and we see that Kiyomi is a hostage of Floch, bringing an end to the episode.
Overall, despite having better writing than the previous episode, I would still say that “Night of the End” is one of the weakest adaptations of the manga because of the obvious animation issues that plague it, such as randomly focusing on walls, windows and trees.
Having seen the quality of the animation for Episode 26 “Traitor”, I understand that the animation for certain scenes in “Night of the End” had to be so limited in order to make the action scenes of the coming episodes look better, most likely due to budgetary problems.
Still, it is disappointing to me that the anime adaptation of one of my favourite alliance chapters is so watered down.
I’m not saying it’s a bad episode but it is definitley disappointing.
The writing is still top notch, though, with Jean’s character arc being a standout, proving why he is one of Attack on Titan‘s best characters.

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 24, Pride Review: One of the Weakest Chapters Becomes One of the Weakest Episodes.

Coming into Episode 24 of Attack on Titan’s Final Season, “Pride”, directed by Kazuo Miyake I was very interested to see what the anime only viewers’ reaction to it would be.
This is because “Pride” is one of the most controversial chapters in the entire manga, being so divisive that it caused people to become concerned about the future ending’s quality.
Honestly, I’m on the side of the readers who found the chapter to have more negatives than positives.
Yet, despite this, I was still intrigued to see whether the anime only viewers would overall like this episode, be divided, or hate it.
From what I have seen so far, I can almost certainly state that most anime only viewers enjoyed this episode.
I have heard some concerns among them but, all in all, the reception does seem to be on the positive side, making my negative opinion on this episode’s writing in the minority.
It is my intent with this review to back up my own negative opinion, so that I can explain the issues I and others have with this episode to any anime only viewers who potentially stumble across this review.
Not to sway them over to a negative side, because I am glad they enjoyed an episode I could not, but to at least help them understand some of our criticisms.
With that out of the way, I will get into the review, however, on a positive note.
Yes, despite not liking “Pride”, it does still have some good moments and the opening scene is one of these.
It depicts the aftermath of Hange’s escape with Levi from Zeke, Floch and the Jeagerists.
Hange and Levi are being hunted by some of the Jeagerists but Hange manages to get the upper hand and kills the both of them, a tear falling from her eye as she does so.
That last detail is a fantastic showcase of the moral complexity of this whole situation, as Hange now has to kill her own people to protect herself and Levi.
Once this is done, she sets about tending to Levi’s wounds and building a transport for him, during which she and Levi see Eren’s message to all other Eldians about the destruction of the world.
At this moment, Levi wakes up and it is at this moment that I was disappointed to see a detail from the manga being left out, this being the explanation of how Levi survived the Thunder Spear explosion Zeke caused.
In the manga, we see in a flashback that, at the last moment, Levi jumped atop his sword to shield himself from the impact, causing shards of his sword to cut into his face.
However, this explanation is removed from the anime, with the only excuse for Levi’s survival being that he is an Ackerman, which was also in the manga but it makes a lot more sense when paired with the explanation of Levi covering himself with his sword.
Back to the scene at hand, Hange and Levi both realize they cannot just sit back on the sidelines, and it is then that the scene transitions to the two’s negotation with Magath and Pieck, as Levi tells them his main goal is to find and kill Zeke, who Hange speculates is with Eren.
At first, Magath threatens Levi and Hange, seeing Levi’s weakened state, but relents upon seeing Levi’s resolve.
Hange then offers an alliance with Magath and Pieck to stop Eren from destroying the world, and it is here that my issues start to come in.
For starters, we do not see what led Hange to come to the conclusion that they all needed to team up with the Warriors.
I’m not saying that it doesn’t make sense for her character because it does but a little explanation for how her thought process was going would have been nice.
Not only this but as soon as Hange offers this alliance the scene cuts.
What were Pieck and Magath’s reaction to her offer at first?
Did they agree quickly or need more convincing?
How does Levi feel about this whole thing?
These are questions that are not answered because the majority of the Alliance’s forming is left entirely off screen.
The Warriors and the Scouts have such a damaged relationship after killing one another for years, so any alliance formed between them would be wrought with tension that would have been great to see.
Too bad we just constantly cut away to bad subplots that feel like massive wastes of time.
Case and point, the Connie and Falco subplot, my second least favourite subplot in Attack on Titan. 
Aside from memers, did anyone really care about Connie’s quest to save his mother here?
The literal end of the world is happening, we have no time to focus on this pointless journey that was clearly never going to end in any way other than Connie changing his mind.
It’s clearly building to that right from the moment that Connie is having his own inner conflict on the matter, the night before he and Falco finally reach Ragako.
Then we just get an awkward joke about brushing Titan teeth before Armin and Gabi run in to save Falco and innevitably do when Armin takes a gamble inspired by Commander Erwin’s previous ones.
This makes Connie come to his senses and decide to become a soldier his mother would have been proud of.
Credit where it is due, this is some solid character development for Connie that ties into the title of the episode.
But, again, we really did not have time for this when the end of the world is happening.
This should have been time spent building up the alliance, which was sorely needed.
What makes it worse is that this was clearly one of the main points of the Connie subplot.
Isayama used it to move Connie and Armin to the right palce, where they could meet up with Annie again.
The issue with this is that such potential for alliance build up is squandered, when all we get from Annie reuniting with Armin and Connie is an out of place pie joke, before the scene once again cuts away.
All we are left with is a scene of Hitch reading a letter from Annie, saying that she has decided to go with Connie and Armin.
Sure would have been nice to see that happen.
Not to mention that Connie laughing at Annie eating a pie just feels weird.
I have heard some defend this moment, explaining that Connie has always laughed during tense situations, like when Bertholdt transformed into the Colossal Titan during the Return to Shiganshina Arc.
While that does make sense, what undermines this is the fact that Connie’s lax attitude towards Annie just does not match with Episode 17, “Judgement”, where he mentioned he was angry at her for betraying them.
It just does not add up.
Out of place comedy being used instead of actual character conflict is another massive issue I have with this episode.
At least there were a few minor details which improved this scene from the manga, like the fantastic transition to the scene from Floch cheering “Shinzou wo Sasageo”, and a cut from the manga I am actually supportive of, this being the cut moment of Gabi joking around with Falco.
The reason I am glad this was removed is because it makes no sense for this to happen when Falco is mourning the death of his brother.
Speaking of which, I am still disappointed that we do not get to see Falco wrestling with his feelings about Colt’s death since, you know, it was his own unwilling Titan transformation that killed him.
Unfortunately, the bad Connie subplot leading to the poorly handled Annie meet up is not the end of the episode’s problems because I now have to talk about the Mikasa and Louise scene, another moment that has caused an argument between those who like “Pride” and those who do not.
The scene in question sees Mikasa track down a dying Louise to find that it was her who took her scarf.
Louise talks about how she wanted to wear the scarf to feel close to Mikasa, saying that Eren wanted the scarf thrown away, only for Mikasa to not give a damn, demand the scarf back, then storm off when she has it.
To me, Mikasa is incredibly unlikeable in this scene, being so dismissive of the dying girl who looks up to her.
I have seen those who like the episode defend Mikasa’s actions, pointing out that Louise is part of an extremist group, stole the scarf, and Mikasa does not owe her anything.
While all of these things are true, I still cannot help but think that this scene does Mikasa’s character a disservice because of the very first scene Louise appeared in, all the way back in Season One.
In Louise’s first appearance, Mikasa saves her and her mother from a Titan, for which the two are grateful and this makes Mikasa happy, before reminding her of her own family.
So, you’re telling me that in Louise’s first scene Mikasa is glad to have saved her and is reminded of her family, only to then be so cruel to Louise when she is literally dying in front of her?
Another thing people have pointed out is that Louise’s devotion to Mikasa causes her to revaluate her devotion to Eren but I would like to ask where that is shown?
Honestly, I think the whole Louise subplot could be removed and nothing would have changed.
Remove the Connie subplot too while we’re at it because, if both of those subplots were gone, then it would have given the story much more time to develop the alliance properly.
Although, I will say that the scenes after these poor ones are much better in quality.
For starters, there is the best scene of the episode with the rescue of Jean, Yelena and Onyankopon from the Jeagerists.
Both Jean and Onyankopon’s characterization in this scene is excellent.
First there is Onyankopon, who rightly calls out the Jeagerists for their hypocrisy and expresses his own grief over his soon to be loss of his homeland and family.
Then there is Jean, who organizes the rescue operation, joining the Alliance to honour Marco’s memory.
Jean and Onyankopon are the best characters in an episode that does a lot of other ones no favours.
As the rescue plan of having Pieck retrieve Jean, Yelena and Onyankopon from the Jeagerists unfolds, we see that the rest of the Alliance is leaving Shiganshina, with Annie and Mikasa having reuinted off screen.
Again, I would have loved to have seen that, especially since the last time they saw one another they were trying to kill each other.
Well, at least the scene where they escape from Shiganshina does include the moment when Annie sees a mysterious figure watching them, the outcome to which I am eagerly anticipating to see play out over the next few episodes.
Then, we get the final scene of “Pride”, which is, without a doubt, the most controversial moment of the episode, when Reiner is awoken by the alliance and told they need to go save the world.
Que the Avengers music.
Personally, this scene has never really bothered me that much because I like how it ties into Reiner’s character arc.
His initial motivation was to save the world but it only lead to him comitting atrocities, causing him to have massive PTSD.
Now, he is being offered the chance to redeem himself by actually saving the world this time.
I think if the scene had focused on this rather than the cheesy avengers formation of the alliance, then it would have been much better received.
Overall, Episode 24 adapts one of the weakest chapters of the manga into what I think is one of the weakest episodes of the series.
It is not Mappa’s fault, since the writing is the problem here.
In fact, I think Mappa did quite a good job, with some great shots, like the reflecton of Connie and Falco in the sword, along with making me realize just how loud the Rumbling would be when we see the characters trying to sleep.
In conclusion, my biggest problem with this alliance formation episode is the constant cutting away from that formation in favour of poorly written subplots and out of place humor.
Although, I will say that the writing for the alliance does get much better going forward (a few questionable instances aside), especially in the next episode.
So, look forward to that.

Manga Spoilers:
The first thing I want to talk about in the manga spoilers section is the Mikasa and Louise subplot.
I gave some harsh criticism to this storyline back there and the reason for this is in large part due to my disappointment at the lost potential, something that I have noticed a lot in regards to Mikasa’s character in general.
One of the biggest missed oppurtunities with her character is definitley her connection with Louise.
Imagine if Mikasa actually cared about Louise and mentored her, eventually coming to feel like she is to blame for her joining the Jeagerists.
This could have created some great character development for her.
What’s more, imagine if, instead of Louise just dying because of a random Thunder Spear, she actually takes part in the upcoming port battle in a future episode and Mikasa either has to kill her to protect the plane or sees her die at someone else’s hand.
Wracked with guilt, she could then retrieve the scarf from Louise’s body, making her actually revaluate her devotion to Eren, having seen the lows this devoition brought Louise to.
But no, instead we just have Louise being devoted to Mikasa, who does not care at all, even when the poor girl is dying, and not having any realization surrounding her devotion to Eren, despite the similarities.
Coming back to the port battle though, we can expect to see that in Episode 27 because it has seemingly been confirmed that each of the following episodes for the second part of Attack on Titan‘s final season will only adapt a single chapter.
I have very mixed feelings about this because I just don’t think that some of these chapters are long enough to justify a single episode, like Episode 26 “Traitor” for example.
I fear they may try to pad these episodes out with large recaps, really slowing down the pacing.
Although, this concern may turn out to be false, so I will admit to that if it turns out to be the case.
It also does not like we will be getting Chapter 131 adapted in this part of the Final Season like I suspected either, so does that mean no Chapter 123 flashback as well?
Will we be seeing those in a movie or a Final Season Part 3?
Only time will tell.

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 23, Sunset Review: A Great Set-Up Episode.

Thankfully picking up without a recap of what happened in the last episode, Episode 23 of Attack on Titan‘s final season, “Sunset” is great set-up for what is to come.
Directed by Mitsue Yamazaki, the episode begins in Trost District, displaying the horrific side effect Eren’s Rumbling has on the people of Paradis.
With all of the walls crumbling, many houses have collapsed, a lot them with people still inside.
Hundreds are probably dead from this, and we see Hitch helping care for the survivors, only to have to go and gather riot gear when fanatical Jeagerist citizens get into an argument with those who have lost family members in the Rumbling by saying their sacrifices were worth it.
It just goes to show that even if Eren does destroy the world, infighting on Paradis will not end.
As for Hitch, when she goes to gather the riot gear, she notices wet footprints coming from the basement where Annie’s crystal was stashed.
Realizing the warrior is now free, Hitch goes after her, only to find herself remarkably out of her depth as the awakened Annie holds her hostage easily.
But maybe not because Annie is still in a weakened state, allowing Hitch to throw her to the floor, comparing her to a grandma.
However, as Hitch is calling for help, Annie reveals she has cut herself, leaving Hitch no choice but to help her out of fear of the warrior transforming.
Hitch takes this as well as she can, joking that she won’t have to see Annie’s face anymore, to which Annie hits back by saying she won’t have to listen to Hitch complaining about men, revealing she was concious the entire time.
This is a nice way of justifying not needing to explain to Annie all that has happened since she entered the crystal.
The two of them then take off on the horse, looking up at the advancing Rumbling as they go, which looks absolutley incredible.
Seriously, I’m amazed at how well Mappa has done at animating the Rumbling so far.
They have honestly done a better job with the CGI Colossal Titans than WIT.
Not to say that Mappa is better than WIT, no, the two studios just both have things they are better at than the other.
Back to Annie and Hitch, this is the moment where we finally get Annie’s full backstory.
It’s revealed that her birth was the result of an affair between an Eldian and a Marleyan.
She was then raised by an Eldian man with a similar situation to her, who trained her to become a warrior, all so that he could live a better life.
This resulted in Annie eventually breaking the man’s leg and then gaining a complete indifference to human life, including her own.
But then, on the day she left, the man who raised her broke down, begging her to come back home to him, now loving her as his daughter.
This is why she fought so hard to get home and why, if it ends with her seeing her father one more time, she would do it all again.
I like this motivation for Annie.
It is certainly cold, saying she would do the horrific things she did again, but it has understandable reasoning, since she did it all to get back to a loved one.
There is also some great humor here as well, with Hitch interrupting Annie by asking her if this is her life story or something.
Of course it all turns serious when Hitch states that Annie will most likely only find a corpse when she gets home.
Que the perfect cut to Annie’s father and the rest of the Eldians in Liberio arguing with their guards about the Rumbling being started, which they learned when Eren alerted them through the Paths.
The guards, however, do not believe them and place them under arrest, leading to Annie’s father starting a revolt when he remembers Annie’s tearful face when she promised him she would come home.
Back on Paradis, Shadis hears a gunshot before telling the trainees to wait for their moment to take on the Jeagerists, while Armin prepares to go and stop Connie from feeding Falco to his mother.
Armin tells Mikasa they need Gabi’s help to convince Reiner and Pieck to stop the fighting, which means they need Falco too, so he will tell Connie his mother should just stay a Titan for peace.
Mikasa then asks Armin what she should do and Armin says to help Jean.
This is a curious line from Armin because it appears to be changed from the manga, where Armin tells her to think for herself, not to think of how she should help Jean.
Unless this is not a translation error on either the manga or the anime’s part, this is a pretty odd change to make, since it goes from Armin seemingly pointing out how Mikasa often struggles to think for herself, to him just advising her to help Jean.
Either way, what follows is the same as the manga, with Mikasa predictably asking about Eren, leading to Armin exploding at her, ending with him saying that Erwin should have been chosen over him, before departing.
This was a sad moment for Armin, although I did find it humorous how Historia is just randomly thrown into the conversation.
It really is a shame how little screen time she is getting.
Back to the scene at hand, once Armin leaves, Mikasa notices that her scarf is missing.
I am not looking forward to the answer of where it is in the next episode.
Armin then goes outside, where Gabi is saying her goodbyes to the Braus family, telling Kya her real name, before she and Armin depart to save Falco.
Back inside the building, Floch has shot a volunteer who resisted as a fear tactic against the rest of them.
In answer to Jean’s demand of who made him king, Floch responds that Eren came to him with his plan for the Rumbling ten months ago, going on a rant about how the volunteers’ only hope is to side with the Eldian Empire now that their homelands will be destroyed and their family’s butchered.
Floch really is a great antagonist.
He is a perfect example of how nationalism can twist a person.
Case and point, when he brutally executes the volunteer he shot when he resists further, which, by the way, is much more brutal in the manga.
As Mikasa arrives, Floch then speaks to Jean, telling him to go back to the way he was in Season One, shocking Jean who is then struck with guilt upon seeing Onyankopon staring at him.
On another note, the ost during this scene is, once again, incredible.
It gives Floch this villanous theme, one that is further established when he lies about Zeke killing Hange and Levi.
The credits then role, while showing Connie taking Falco to his village.
Connie has used Falco’s memory loss to his advantage but still feels guilty about what he plans to do to Falco, since he is a good kid, even though sacrificing him would bring back his mother.
Much like the resolution to the scarf scene though, I am not excited to see this subplot play out next episode.
With the credits coming to an end, the post credits scene then sees Pieck and Magath being approached by Hange for unknown purposes.
Levi is with her, alive but horribly injured, and Hange calls him a “harmless fellow who refuses to die.”
Harmless?
Hell, no.
Refuses to die?
Oh, most definitley.
Overall, “Sunset” is a pretty great set-up episode, with some excellent animation and visuals.
As for the end result of this set-up… well, let’s just say I’m interested to see the anime only reactions to it and leave it at that for the spoiler free section.

Manga Spoiler Section:
Okay, so I can’t be the only one really intrigued to see how anime only viewers will interpret the next episode, right?
Chapter 126, “Pride”, is one of Attack on Titan‘s most controversial chapters.
It is the point that many manga readers began to become concerned about where the direction the ending was heading because of the way the chapter was written.
While I do think that the chapters following “Pride” are a million times better, and am looking forward to the adaptations of them, I am still dreading the next episode because “Pride” is definitley in my top five least favourite chapters of the series.
It is an extremely rushed chapter, with numerous scene gaps, unearned comedy, and one of the worst subplots of the entire series as a key focus, this being the Connie and Falco subplot.
Still, there are moments I am looking forward to, like the beginning scene with Hange and Levi, and Jean and Onyankopon’s development.
Plus, I think we can count on Mappa to make the episode visually interesting, at least.
But, no matter what my thoughts on the next episode are, I can still say that it had some pretty great set-up with “Sunset.”

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode Twenty-Two, Thaw Review: Returning Character and OST.

With the Paths storyline of Chapters 119 to most of Chapter 123 coming to an end at Episode 21, Episode 23 of Attack on Titan’s final season, “Thaw”, kicks off with a cut to the present as our main characters and the world at large reacts to the Rumbling.
Directed by Hidekazu Hara and Kiō Igarashi, “Thaw” begins with the typical episode recap, before showing the reactions the Eldians in Liberio are having to Eren’s declaration about the Rumbling.
Among these Eldians is Annie’s father, a fitting choice concerning that the episode ends with the twist of her return.
Once we get these Eldians’ reactions, the scene then cuts to Reiner and Gabi, who are retreating from where Wall Maria used to be, as the Wall Titans are now marching.
Falco is nowhere to be seen and Reiner realizes that he was taken by Connie and Jean, before despairing that Eren will destroy the world, which hits him hard in particular because his original goal was to save it.
As Gabi leads him into a house to rest, Reiner suggests she finds Pieck and escape, telling her they have no hope of stopping Eren, before falling unconcious.
Gabi, however, is unwilling to accept this and, in a scene very similar to one where Eren told himself in the mirror to “fight”, Gabi also ties her hair up into a ponytail, followed by her declaring that she is coming for Falco.
The boy in question has indeed been captured by Jean, Connie, Mikasa and Armin, who are now all struggling with their conflicting thoughts about the Rumbling.
Jean states that he believes the people of the outside world brought this all upon themselves, yet his tone and wording highlight his confliction greatly.
Armin is much more forward with his doubts, declaring that Eren is going too far, which leads to Jean stating that Eren is committing this unprecedented genocide for them.
Before they can appropriately deal with the inner conflict this brings them, they notice that Zeke’s Titans are now on a rampage.
As they move to deal with them, Mikasa asks Jean what he intends to do with Falco.
Jean suggests feeding Falco to Commander Pyxis so he can come back as a Shifter but Connie interrupts, insisting his mother be the one who is saved, since there won’t need to be any fighting anymore because of the Rumbling.
An argument ensues when Armin suggests letting Falco live, so they can use him to negotiate with Reiner and the other Warriors, but they are again interrupted, this time by an attacking Titan, giving Connie the chance to kidnap Falco to save his mother.
And so begins what I think is one of the worst subplots in all of Attack on Titan, but the awful way that storyline unfolds is not for a few episodes at this point.
As Jean, Mikasa and Armin decide to focus on killing the Titans in Shiganshina, since there aren’t any walls left to contain them, the episode changes focus to Sasha’s family, who are fleeing from a Titanized Nile.
Kya ends up hitting her head and falling down some stairs, with Nile going right after her and no Sasha to save her this time.
It is at that moment that Gabi rushes in, freeing Nile from the misery of being a Titan, as she kills him with the anti-Titan rifle, saving Kya, who then sees her as Sasha.
This symbolic moment where Kya sees her sister in her killer is a controversial one in the fandom but one I like because of how it follows through on Gabi’s redemption.
Kya pays Gabi back in full for her rescue, covering for her when Jeagerists show up and recognize Gabi as the girl from Marley.
Niccolo and the rest of Sasha’s family also support Gabi, leading to the Jeagerists leading them to saftey.
During this time, Gabi and Kya have a heart to heart, where Gabi admits that she killed people for praise and that is her devil.
Niccolo follows this up by saying both he and Kya have devils within them as well, and the only way to escape them is to escape the forest, just like Mr Braus said.
Meanwhile, one of the soldiers who beat up Keith Shadis is about to be eaten by a Titan when who should come to rescue him but the man he beat up.
Shadis then heroically orders the trainees to follow him into battle, as the returning ost Barricades plays.
I was not expecting this theme to play this episode but I think it works fantastically.
As for Shadis, he is a character whose storyline I am excited to see play out in the final season because of how much I liked it in the manga.
One thing that I think is a downgrade from the manga, however, is the adaptation of the paneling in the next scene, where Mikasa kills a Titan that was going to eat Yelena.
In the manga, the shot cuts between Yelena’s horrified eyes and Mikasa’s determined ones, before revealing that Mikasa has killed the Titan that was about to kill Yelena, which then crashes into the building.
In the anime, however, the impact of this impressive paneling is lessened signficantly, with some of the shots being too quick, and new shots being placed in, like one of the Titan about to eat Yelena before Mikasa kills it.
We then see Jean leading the charge against the Titans in Shiganshina, with Shadis assisting as he and the trainees lead various Titans to where they will be easier to kill.
However, these are not just ordinary Titans but former comrades, a tragedy which becomes clear when Armin notices Commander Pyxis among the Titans and then puts him out of his misery, thanking him for helping them get this far and wishing that he rest in peace.
As the fight progresses, we see Mikasa save Louise, only for her admirer to be distracted by this and then get hit by a thunder spear explosion, her fate now unknown.
With the Titans in Shiganshina all killed, the survivors rest, with Onyankopon coming to Jean and reflecting on how his homeland will be destroyed.
Rubbing this painful moment in for him further is when everyone’s least favourite nationalist (or favourite depending on who you ask) Floch arrives with a smug look on his face to announce the Eldian Empire’s revival, placing Yelena, Onyankopon, and the rest of the volunteers under arrest.
As this is happening, Armin and Mikasa are led into a basement by Mr Braus and meet with Gabi, who begs them to give Falco back, only to be horrified when she learns what Connie plans to do with him.
She then begs further, asking if Eren can return Connie’s mother to normal on his own since he also removed Reiner’s Armour.
This causes Armin to realize that Eren removed all Titan hardening, meaning that Annie must be free.
Sure enough, the scene then cuts to Annie, now free from her crystal after 56 episodes, bringing an end to the episode.
Overall, “Thaw” is a great adaptation of Chapter 124, bringing back Annie well and depicting the fight in Shiganshina amazingly, with the return of the excellent ost Barricades.

Manga Spoilers:
“Thaw” saw the beginning of the Connie and Falco subplot, the storyline where Connie attempts to feed Falco to his mother to turn her back into a human.
As I said in the spoiler free section, this is one of my least favourite subplots of the entire series. The only one I can think of that is worse is the atrocious pregnancy subplot Historia recieved (if you can even call that degrading treatment of her character a subplot, since it never amounted to anything).
One of the big reasons for my dislike of the Connie subplot is how pointless it seems in the grand scheme of things.
The end of the world is literally happening and we are wasting time on Connie’s mother.
This has me hoping that the anime might make some changes to improve this subplot but I wouldn’t hold my breath, since this episode adapted a single chapter with no significant alterations.
The only slightly significant change I could find in this episode was that we actually see Louise get injured during the fight with the Titans in Shiganshina.
This was a nice addition because in the manga we don’t see her get injured, just the aftermath, so this bridges the gap well.
Unfortunately, at the end of that gap is another scene I do not like, the one where Mikasa completley ignores Louise dying in front of her and just wants her scarf back, making her extremely unlikeable.
Yeah, it’s safe to say I’m not looking forward to seeing the adaptation of Chapter 126, which is in my top five least favourite chapters of the series.
Oh, well, at least the adaptation of Chapter 125 “Sunset” was really good, and I will be sure to review that before Episode 24 is released.

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode Twenty-One, From You, 2000 Years Ago Review: Fantastic, Despite the Hindsight.

The twenty first episode of Attack on Titan’s final season, “From You, 2000 Years Ago”, was quite the surprise for me.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did.
This is because the ending to the manga rectontextualized the chapter this episode adapts in a negative way for me, making it a lot less enjoyable.
However, despite this problem still being there in some instances, I actually loved this episode.
But, I am getting ahead of myself.
My criticisms for the future recontextualization of this episode will be left for the manga spoiler section down below and this half of the review will be spoiler free for the future of the story.
Directed by Naoki Matsuura, the episode begins by adapting the rest of Chapter 121, by first showing the fight between Grisha and Freida, which ended with Grisha killing her and the entire Reiss family, except for Rod.
Then, as expected, given how the rest of the episodes have started in the Final Season’s second half, we get a brief recap of the last scene of Episode Twenty, seeing Grisha’s reconcilation with Zeke again, leading to Zeke being thrown back into Paths with a chained Eren.
Zeke is horrifed at Eren’s manipulation of Grisha, stating that Eren showed Grisha something from the future that convinced him to pass on the Founding and Attack Titan.
Eren confirms this, before going on to state that he saw his own future all the way back in the Season Three finale, when he kissed Historia’s hand.
For those who watched this episode and are still confused about how this works, I’ll give a brief expanation.
Basically, Historia’s royal blood allowed Eren to get a better look at Grisha’s memory of killing the Reiss family.
However, because Grisha was then being manipulated by Eren and seeing his future memories, it allowed Eren at the moment when he kissed Historia’s hand to see these memories of what he would eventually do in the future.
This is another moment of geniux writing from Isayama, recontextualizing the Season Three finale perfectly by connecting it to the past and future.
Back to talking about Eren and Zeke in the Paths, Eren tells Zeke that when he kissed Historia’s hand he saw a “sight.”
This is where a curious change from the manga comes into play here.
In the original Chapter 121, when Eren mentions this “sight,” he looks like he cannot wait to see it, while in this episode he looks depressed when he says it.
I will get into the potential reason for this change down in the manga spoilers section.
Despite Eren looking depressed when he mentions the “sight,” it naturally does not lessen Zeke’s fears, only heightens them, causing him to demand that Ymir sterilize all Eldians at once.
She turns to do so and Eren, in a panic, rips himself free from the chains holding him down, with some great screaming from Yuki Kaji.
As Eren runs to grab a hold of Ymir, Zeke tells him that no one can stop the Founder Ymir once she has begun to move.
One opening credits scene later, and we get the adaptation of my former favourite chapter of Attack on Titan, “From You, 2000 Years Ago,” which depicts Ymir’s backstory.
It starts off with a brief flashback to Freida reading a young Historia the book about Ymir, describing her as a girl who is kind because she’s always thinking of others.
This brief scene is nice to compare Mappa and WIT’s differing style, as it also appeared in Season Three.
Along with this, it leads into Ymir’s backstory well, which shows that, despite constantly thinking of others, Ymir’s life was not a good one.
This is first proven with the the scene of Ymir’s village being raided by a group of barbarians, who enslave its people and cut out their tongues.
After this horrific treatment, Ymir sees two people kissing, showing her longing for human connection, and this is followed up by the leader of the barbarians, Fritz, declaring that one of the slaves has set a pig free.
He demands that the slaves identify the culprit or everyone else will lose an eye.
Whether she did it or not, Ymir is thrown under the bus, with thirteen fingers pointing at her, representing the life span of Titan Shifters.      
Since Ymir has no tongue now, she cannot even defend herself and has to resort to bowing to Fritz, who sarcastically tells her that she is “free,” before having her hunted down like a wild animal.
With one eye gouged out, and multiple arrows in her body, Ymir flees until she comes across a gigantic tree, which she seeks refuge in, only to fall into a pit of water and begin to drown.
Just as she is about to die, a strange spine-like creature rises up and merges with her, making Ymir the first Titan.
Many years later, Ymir is still a slave for Fritz, unfortunately.
It gets worse for her when Fritz tells Ymir he will give her his “seed,” to which Ymir looks absolutley miserable, understandably so.
We then get a montage of Ymir bearing Fritz’s children, while his Eldian Empire continues to grow, with Ymir also being forced to fight and subjugate Marley, which resembled the Roman Empire back then.
Eventually, a group of Marleyan leaders are bowing before Fritz, only for this to turn out to be an assassination attempt, as one soldier throws a hidden spear at Fritz.
Ymir throws herself in front of the spear, giving her life for Fritz, only for him to berate her, telling her to get up since he knows no spear can kill her.
At that moment, Ymir gives up on life and dies, her soul going into the Paths.
In the physical world, Fritz horrifically feeds Ymir’s body to her daughters, revealed to be Maria, Rose and Sina, who the three walls on Paradis will be named after.
This cannibalistic feast allows Ymir’s Titan powers to be passed down.
Despite this horrifying scene being censored compared to the manga, I still think it was adapted well.
Ymir then continues to build Titan in the Paths for 2000 years, while we hear Fritz’s narration that his Titans will rule until the world’s end.
It is at this point that Eren interrupts Fritz, bringing us back to the present with his declaration that he will put an end to this world, pleading with Ymir to give him her strength.
He proclaims she is not a god, or a devil, but a person and that she has the right to choose what happens now.
Alarmed, Zeke runs to stop Eren, demanding that Ymir continue to obey him, just like Fritz demanded of her.
As Zeke approaches, Eren continues to console Ymir, before wondering if she was the one who lead him here, and telling her she has been waiting 2000 years for someone.
At this moment, we see Ymir’s eyes for the first time as she cries at Eren’s profound words.
This powerful moment was adapted beautifully from the manga, but I do wish we had seen Ymir’s face rise up to reveal her expression rather than just cutting to it, which the anime chose to do.
In any case, Ymir has chosen Eren.
Despite this being a powerful choice, it is quickly revealed to also be a horrifying one.

Outside of Paths, the spine-like creature emerges from Eren’s body and attaches itself to his decapitated head, the following transformiation absorbing both him and Zeke, as the walls crumble around them.
The Rumbling has begun.
Cutting back to Mikasa and Armin, the two look on in shock at Eren’s new Titan form, which is the largest we have ever seen in the story.
Armin desperately wants to believe Eren is doing the right thing, stating his belief that Eren has started only a partial Rumbling to destroy the world’s military.
However, it quickly becomes apparent that this is not the case, as Armin notices that all of Wall Maria has collapsed.
If Eren wanted to destroy just the world’s military, then he would not need so many Wall Titans.
Just as this relization is hitting Armin and Mikasa, Eren calls them and every other Eldian into Paths using the Founding Titan’s power to declare his intentions.
We get a brief overview of every important character hearing his announcement, including some anime original reactions from Floch and Historia, the latter of whom is still sitting in that damn rocking chair that she can’t seem to leave ever since she got pregant.
Eren declares to every single Eldian that his intent is to use the Rumbling to wipe out all life beyond Paradis Island, with the episode ending on a fantastic adaptation of his monstrous face from Chapter 123.
Eren has now gone down the path of global genocide and there is no going back for him.
“From You, 2000 Years Ago” is a fantastic episode of Attack on Titan, already being hailed as one of the series’ best, what with its amazing showcase of Ymir’s tragic backstory and Eren’s horrifying plans for the Rumbling.
Although, I am curious if anime onlies will keep this high opinion of the episode once its events are recontextualized with the ending. 

Manga Spoilers: 

I will start off the manga spoilers section for this post with a scene that I will admit to being quite confused by.
This is the opening scene, where Zeke confronts Eren after they leave their father’s memories.
As I said in the spoiler free section, Zeke deduces that Eren showed Grisha a memory, which convinced him to hand over the power of the Founding Titan.
What was this memory he was shown?
Well, your guess is as good as mine.
Seriously, what did Eren show Grisha that convinced him?
We get no further explanation on it in the manga and Grisha’s soul even sides against Eren in Chapter 137, so why does he give him the power?
Either this is something that will be explained in the show, with an anime original scene, or it’s a plot hole, unless I’m misunderstanding this scene’s meaning, of course.
Then there’s the strange change of Eren’s expression when he refrences the “sight.”
The question is why the anime changed his expression from excited to depressed?
This is just a guess on my part but maybe it’s because they want it to be more in line with the idea that Eren was pretty much a slave to the Founding Titan in the ending, forced by destiny or something to do all he did, which Eren would not be happy about.
If that is the reason for the change, I don’t really like it because it does not line up with Eren’s reaction to the “sight” of the Rumbling in Chapter 131.
Unless, god forbid, they change that too.
Now, let’s talk about the recontextualization of Chapter 122.
I disliked the ending reveals that Ymir was in love with her abuser and waiting for Mikasa to help her get rid of this toxic love so much that it shot the chapter from my favourite to right out of my top ten.
If anything, though, I would think that it speaks to this episode’s quality that I was able to put aside this major issue I have and enjoy it so much, despite my hindsight for future events as a manga reader.
However, there were a few instances where my negative opinion creeped through.
For instance, this episode only strengthened my opinion that the twist of Ymir loving Fritz is absolutely ridiculous.
Even if you put it in the lens of stockholm syndrome it makes no sense.
Just look at Ymir’s reaction to Fritz telling her that he will force her to bear his children.
Like I said in the spoiler free section, she looks miserable when he says that.
How are we supposed to believe she loved him when she looks so depressed whenever she’s with him because he’s such a monster to her?
I’m dreading this reveal whenever we get to it.
It’s easily the worst part of the entire ending for me.
I’ll end the manga spoiler section on a positive note, talking about the absence of most of Chapter 123, “Island Devils.”
That chapter mainly consists of a flashback from Mikasa’s perspective during her, Eren, Armin and the other scouts’ time infiltrating Marley.
This flashback was skipped over in the episode for the ending scene, where Eren declares he will destroy the world.
However, I do not think this scene has been removed entirely.
No, I think it was just moved for when the anime adapts Chapter 131, “Rumbling.”
I think the flashback of Chapter 123 would work perfectly with Chapter 131’s adaptation because it is the chapter that introduces Ramzi.
Seeing him and his family partying with the 104th, our main characters’ last moments of happiness, before seeing Ramzi and millions of other innocents slaughtered in the Rumbling right after would be horrifying and a lot more cohesive.
So, if that is what the anime is going for, I am in favour of this change.
Of course, there is the chance that this flashback has been removed altogether, but I don’t see that happening since it is required to introduce Ramzi, which will go on to make his death by the Rumbling impactful.
So, I’m looking forward to be horrified with that episode, before the season ends to adapt the rest of the manga in either a movie or the Final Season Part Three, because there’s no way it’s ending in twelve episodes with this pacing. 

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 19, Two Brothers Review: Three Family Tragedies.

I was quite excited for episodes 19 and 20 of the Final Season of Attack on Titan.
This is because they would be adapting some of my favourite chapters of the manga, Chapter 119, “Two Brothers”, and Chapter 121, “Memories of the Future”, the latter actually being my favourite of the story.
As for “Two Brothers”, it was adapted amazingly under director Teruyuki Omine, detailing the three tragedies between brothers that happen in this episode perfectly.
The episode begins with a thankfully small recap, as we only see Zeke fall from the Wall, as he did in the previous episode, before we get to the current content, which begins with Eren absolutely wrecking Porco when he tries to stop him from reaching Zeke.
However, he is stopped by yet another head shot from Pieck’s Titan canon, only for the Jeagerists, lead by Floch, to intervene.
This leads to a brutal shot adapted well from the manga, where a Jeagerist is killed by Pieck’s canon slamming into him.
Seeing this, Armin realizes they have to take out the Cart Titan if they are to have a chance at winning.
Mikasa then saves him from gunfire, since Armin took his eyes off the battle they are currently in while thinking ahead.
Connie takes out their attackers and the group move forward, with Armin deciding to take Pyxis’ advice to get behind the enemy.
We then cut to Zeke, who wakes up at the bottom of the wall, still in his Beast Titan form, and he sees Eren being attacked by Reiner, who tries to rally Porco to help him.
However, when Reiner reaches for Porco, he unintentionally activates a memory from Marcel, showing Porco how his brother badmouthed him to keep him from inheriting the Armoured Titan, all to protect him.
So starts the beginning of the brotherly tragedies in this episode, as Zeke decides to scream and transform every single Eldian who drank his poisoned wine into Titans.
It is at this moment that Colt runs onto the scene with Falco, begging Zeke to allow his little brother enough time to escape the range of Zeke’s scream.
This clearly strikes a cord with Zeke, who feels the same brotherly bond with Eren.
However, it is because of that bond that he cannot delay the transformations so, to protect his plan and Eren, he screams.
Right as Falco transforms, Colt holds him close telling him that he is there for him.
On that note, I will say that that I wish they had kept Colt’s line from the manga, telling Falco that his big brother would always be with him.
That said, the soundtrack to Falco, Pyxis, Nile and the other infected member of the military’s transformation is top notch, and it becomes even better when the Titan invasion music from the very first season begins to play.
It really reminded me of the attack on Trost at the beginning of the story, especially with some visual similarities, like one Titan peeking behind a building, similar to how the one who ate Thomas did in Season One.
The moment is made more horrifying with Reiner staring in horror at Falco’s disturbing Titan form, and Gabi seeing Colt’s burned body, looking quite similar to how Armin did when he almost sacrificed himself to defeat Bertholdt.
Taking advantage of the situation, Zeke orders Falco’s Titan to kill Reiner, giving Eren the oppurtunity to escape.
Before Eren can break free from Reiner’s grasp, though, Zeke is apparently fatally shot through the nape by Magath, as he, Pieck, and the other Marleyan soldiers have defeated Floch’s Jeagerists, with Floch being the only survivor again.
Just as Magath is about to land another shot on Eren’s head, Armin’s plan to get behind the enemy pays off, as he blows Pieck’s Titan canon up with a thunder spear, while Mikasa kills some more Marleyan soldiers aiming for Armin, including Koslo.
Speaking of, I like how the anime decided to include Koslo in this attack, leading to Mikasa killing him.
In the manga, he just disappears after the Marley Arc, so it was nice to see the anime give him an actual death, even if he is just a minor character who pretty much nobody cares about.
One character I do care about is Porco, who ends up robbing Reiner of his sacrifice, allowing Falco to eat him instead.
This is a great death for Porco for three reasons.
Number One: He is too injured to heal himself so will die anyway but, this way, his death can have meaning.
Number Two: By saving Falco, he is living up to his own brother Marcel’s legacy as a brother.
And Number Three: It is one last middle finger to Reiner, as he dies saying he was always better than him.
Honestly, Colt and Porco were kind of meh characters for me, but their deaths in this episode are so well written it makes me care about them.
Enraged over Porco’s death, Reiner attacks Eren with all of his strength, only for him to harden and then escape, running to finally meet Zeke, who was playing dead that whole time.
Jean and Connie aid Eren, shooting Reiner with Thunder Spears to clear his way.
Zeke screams for Eren to hurry, stretching out his hand as he approaches, only for Gabi to pick up Colt’s Anti-Titan Rifle and literally decapitate Eren with it.
Imagine if this was the cliffhanger for the episode.
Everyone would have lost it right?
Well, that’s how it was for us manga readers because that is exactly how Chapter 119 concludes.
I read this chapter in public and got a few weird looks as I audibly gasped at the sight of Gabi shooting Eren.
However, despite this, I never really blamed Gabi.
Eren still murdered a lot of her friends and, whatever his plan is, it cannot be good for Gabi’s family in Marley.
Besides, it’s not like Eren’s dead, as Zeke makes contact with his head before he can die.
Before this, though, we get a flashback to Eren and Zeke’s meeting in Liberio, where we see just how much Eren means to Zeke, but also get a hint of how Eren may be manipulating Zeke, as he does not catch the ball Zeke gives him as a sign of trust.
This flashback then cuts back to the present, where Zeke catches Eren’s head, and we get the adaptation of the memory shards, which are amazingly adapted, with a couple of interesting easter eggs.
From here, we have Eren entering the Paths with a chained up Zeke, who explains that he waited years in the Paths for Eren to be reformed and that the chains constricting him are there because of the King’s vow renouncing war, stopping those with royal blood from using the Founding Titan, so only Eren can command Ymir.
Speaking of, the little girl who saved Zeke at the beginning of the season is confirmed to be Ymir Fritz, the Founder of all Titans.
Zeke then begs Eren to complete their plan of sterilizing all Eldians, only to learn that it is not Eren’s plan at all, bringing yet more brotherly tragedy to an episode full of it.
When Zeke demands that Eren tell him why he betrayed him, Eren responds with his catchphrase of “because I was born into this world,” before asking Ymir to lend him her power, only for her to walk straight past him and bow before Zeke.
Zeke reveals to a confused Eren that because he was not influenced by the first king’s ideology when he arrived in Paths, he was able to eventually destroy the vow renouncing war, allowing him to take full control of the Founding Titan.
This allows Zeke to order Ymir, who sees him as her master, along with other royal blooded Titan users, since she has the mentality of a slave.
The original Titan Shifter being a slave this entire time is a really interesting twist that plays into the story much better than the idea of her being some kind of evil manipulator.
Now having full control of the Founding Titan, Zeke declares that he will “save” Eren before saving the world with him, pressing their heads togethor with a flash of Titan lightening, bringing an end to the episode.
Although, given the direction Episode 20 goes, this was definitely not the best of idea on Zeke’s part.       
Overall, Episode 19 was a fantastic adaptation of Chapter 119 and parts of Chapter 120.
It did a great job of bringing the brotherly tragedies of Colt and Falco, Porco and Marcel, and Eren and Zeke to the screen. 

Manga Spoilers: 

One thing I find especially interesting with the memory shard adaptation is the inclusion of goth Mikasa and nerd Armin from the school alternate universe at the end of every Attack on Titan volume, along with the inclusion of the cover image of Reiner in a sauna.
I’m pretty sure the latter is just an easter egg but I think there may be a possibility that the school au could be included in the anime, specifically the final one at the end of the last volume where a modern day Eren, Mikasa and Armin seem to be watching the end of Attack on Titan in the movie threatre.
This could potentially be a post credits scene after the final episode or movie, if the leaks about that are right.
Now that I think about it, Eren and Mikasa watching Attack on Titan at the movies could have been Isayama’s subtle way of telling the readers that we were getting a movie for the ending.
However, I’m not really sure how I’d feel about the school alternate universe being included in the anime, since I’ve never really cared it, but it’s a possibility I wanted to bring up. 

Attack on Titan, the Final Season, Episode 18, Sneak Attack Review: Mappa Continues to do the Manga Justice.

I can still remember reading Chapter 118 of Attack on Titan for the first time and being quite impressed with all of the standout character moments.
Well, I am pleased to say that Mappa adapted this chapter amazingly, for the most part.
Directed by Jun Shishido, “Sneak Attack” begins by recapping the last few minutes of the previous episode, again showing us Armin tell everyone that Eren was probably lying about Mikasa, and that he is most likely just using Zeke and Yelena.
Last episode had a recap beginning as well and, honestly, I’m finding them to be a bit annoying.
It’s clear they’re just doing it to pad for time so they can adapt one chapter per episode.
Once the recap of the previous episode is over, the other characters quickly come to the conclusion that they have to help Eren, with Jean even admitting that he envied Eren because he found him to be “cool,” a great moment of growth for him.
Afterwards, the 104th go to suit up so they can help Eren fight off Marley and, while running, Mikasa questions Armin’s reasoning for Eren lying.
This causes Armin to remember Eren’s final line in the Season Three finale about destroying their enemies beyond the sea.
He realizes something because of this but chooses to stay quiet, instead focusing on how he and Eren both knew about Mikasa’s headaches so Eren used it to make his lie more convincing.
We then get another recap of Eren and Reiner’s fight, followed up by a kind of underwhelming moment when Porco attacks Eren, only for him to be punched away.
This, and Eren’s glare at Reiner when he is being held down, just had a lot more impact in the manga.
However, this worrying start then turns amazing when Eren begins to rip Reiner’s jaw apart.
Eren’s scream mixed with his Titan roar gave me goosebumps, as did Zeke arriving to save his little brother.
The Beast Titan was completely CGI in Part One of the Final Season but he appears to be mostly 2D in this episode and looks absolutely fantastic.
This animation only gets better when Zeke throws his crunched up boulders at Marley’s airships, causing them to crash into each other and explode.
As this is happening, Eren begins making his way towards Zeke, limping as he does so, which is a great showcase of the brain damage his Titan received from the constant heads shots from Pieck’s Anti-Titan Canon.
The Marleyan forces struggle to combat this, with Pieck and Magath forced to go on the defensive against Floch and the Jeagerists, and Colt and Gabi going to rescue Falco.
They don’t really have to though because the 104th set out to free everyone the Jeagerists are holding captive, including Falco and Nile.
Nile tries to comfort Falco before they are freed, saying this may be his chance to get home, while he may sadly never see his daughters again, even though there is so much he wants to tell them.
Along with Falco and Nile, Shadis and Pyxis are also freed, the latter of which prepares to lead his men who have drunk Zeke’s contaminated wine in the last ditch stand.
Mikasa also prepares for battle, Louise with her, and at that moment she decides to leave her scarf behind, something she has never done before.
Now, surely I am including this as one of the many great character growth moments in this episode, right?
Well, unfortunately, no, I’m not.
The reason for why though is manga spoilers so I’ll detail the reasons why I found this scene off putting in the manga section below.
Once the 104th are all geared up, they go outside, where we see two iconic Yelena panels adapted.
The first of these is her basking in the glory of Zeke’s destruction of the airships which is, again, fantastically animated.
The second of these is her troll face, when Armin tells everyone they don’t have time to focus on Levi and Hange’s status, as they should instead focus on helping Eren and Zeke.
Yelena’s threatening troll face that follows is great and a moment that I’m sure gave a lot of anime only viewers a few nervous chuckles.
As if these Yelena moments weren’t standout enough, we then get Nile, Floch and Gabi’s development in what is the best scene of the entire episode.
Colt and Gabi come across Nile, Falco and the other wine poisoned military police.
Falco sees Colt and tells Nile who, instead of attacking, takes Falco to his brother, freeing him.
Nile might not have much of a hope of seeing his daughters again but he made sure to help a little boy alone on the battlefield.
It is interesting how Isayama actually started Nile off like an antagonist, having him trying to get Eren taken in by the Military Police, where he probably would have been given to Rod Reiss to pass on his Titan.
Then, Isayama pulled back the layers to reveal Nile as a sympathetic character also fighting for humanity, all leading to this moment where he helps Falco.
Next, comes Gabi’s big moment of character development, as she stops Colt from attacking Nile and then, after overhearing Kya talk about how she wants to kill Gabi for killing Sasha, finally admits to herself that she was wrong about the people of Paradis being devils.
Her tearfully announcing this is her biggest moment and it is made better in the anime, through the new shots of open bird cages, showing how Gabi has just begun to free herself from the cycle of violence.
Falco also frees himself in a sense by finally confessing not just his involvement in the attack on Liberio, leading to Udo and Zofia’s deaths, but also his feelings for Gabi.
His awkward confession is genuinely sweet and leads to another excellent moment of growth for Gabi, as she tears off Falco’s black armband, just like he tore off her Eldian one before they meet Kya.
The three then go to warn Zeke about Falco ingesting the spinal fluid, in the hope that this will convince him not to scream.
They almost did not need to worry, though, because it is then we get the titular “Sneak Attack,” with Pieck and Magath showing off their intelligence by launching a near fatal attack on Zeke.
First, they have Pieck emerge from her Titan, causing it to disintegrate, making the Jeagerists think the have defeated her.
Then, the Marleyans ambush Floch and the other Jeagerists.
Finally, Magath fires the Anti-Titan Canon at Zeke in the hopes of killing Zeke.
Unfortunately for them, and Falco, Zeke is still alive so there is still a chance that he could scream if he is given the chance to recover on the ground wher he has fallen, ending the episode.
Overall, “Sneak Attack” is a fantastic adaptation of Chapter 118.
My only criticisms are that the recaps are slightly annoying and the Mikasa scarf scene loses a lot of impact for me with hindsight.
Otherwise, it’s a great episode, and I am even more excited for the next one because it will be adapting one of my favourite chapters of the entire series, Chapter 119, “Two Brothers.”

Manga Spoilers:

Now, I will talk about the issue I have with the Mikasa leaving her scarf behind scene.
This scene had me excited when I first read it in the manga because I thought it would be a turning point for her character.
Yes, I did think the scarf would work its way back to her through Louise based off her looking at it, but I at least thought this would all result in Mikasa potentially distancing herself from Eren.
Instead, Mikasa ends up doubling down on her Eren obsession, despite her ending up killing him in Chapter 138.
This whole thing of her leaving the scarf behind just seems pointless in retrospect.
Mikasa is a character who my opinion on really suffered when I reread the series for my Top Ten Chapters list.
I am not saying that she never develops, but she is a character with so many missed opportunities.
She could have developed so much through her Ackerman and Hizuru heritage, along with leaving the scarf behind and her connection to Louise but these chances for further development are never taken.
It makes me wonder how I will view future Mikasa scenes in the anime.
Is the hindsight of how her story ends also going to make those less impactful for me?
I certainly hope not.