The plots built since “Attack on Titan” (“Shingeki no Kyojin”) returned to the screens, they collide in an episode that combines the best of form and background, which maintains the focus on the feelings of its characters despite taking place in the middle of a battle. A peak moment that keeps the heart in the right place.
Below, SPOILERS for “Attack on Titan” 78, “Brothers”:
Without this being the focus of the series since its inception, “Attack on Titan” has progressively shown us the stories of brothers who, for one reason or another, end up separated or in conflict. The title refers to the complicated relationship between Eren and Zeke Yeager, but also that of Colt and Falco Grice, where the latter could become a titan if Zeke activates his “scream”; as well as the drama of Porco and his late brother Marcel Galliard, the original Jaw titan.
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These relationships reach their climax in the first half of the chapter, in the race to prevent Eren and Zeke from touching each other and thus activating the Founder’s power. Falco and Colt’s plan fails, not because Zeke is a man without a soul, but because, despite his feelings; he is willing to make the necessary sacrifices. But the tragedy of the Grice brothers, which was already great, is increased when Colt does not stop hugging Falco, despite the fact that this causes his death from transformation burns.
This episode has horror not only for the viewer, but for the characters, who do not stop showing their trauma for what happens. There they are Gabi, when seeing the corpse of Colt, or Reiner; who in the face of misfortune is willing to let himself be killed by Falco’s titan so that he lives as the new bearer of the Armor. That does not happen, because Falco devours Porco, who was only able to access Marcel’s memories when, for a few seconds, Reiner touches him. There he discovers that Marcel overdimensioned Reiner’s abilities so that his brother would not have to risk his life on the mission to Paradise Island. Aware of the situation, Porco allows himself to be devoured by Falco not to save the boy’s life, but to show Reiner who is the best warrior.
After these deaths, there is still a relationship of brothers in suspense. Eren, freed from Reiner’s grasp, runs towards Zeke, who has just climbed out of his Titan and awaits contact. But when they are about to touch, Gabi, who as we know is a highly trained soldier, uses Colt’s rifle against Eren; decapitating him with a bullet. A moment of impact that is placed alongside others in the series, such as Erwin’s death, Levi’s fight against Zeke or even the first appearance of the Colossal titan. Zeke, being the good baseball player he is, manages to hold Eren’s head briefly.
The weather and its whims
A couple of episodes ago we already had our first look at the “Paths”, the dimension that unites all of Ymir’s subjects. At some point after the decapitation, the consciousness of both brothers left the world and passed into this parallel dimension, where Zeke arrived first. As if it were the Quantum World of the Marvel Universe, in “Paths” time works differently, where several years there are equivalent to few moments in the physical field. Hence, the series represents this difference by stopping time in battle, by freezing the action while Eren’s head is no longer in place.
In the “Paths” is Ymir, the girl who had already appeared two episodes ago. She was the first person capable of becoming a Titan, and while all Eldians are considered her subjects, she is a slave; says Zeke, who only obeys the bearer of royal blood. Thus, Eren is only the key to achieving the sterilization of the Eldians, something that the former member of the Exploration Corps is not willing to comply with, as Armin had theorized.
Eren ends up at the mercy of his brother, who sees him as a victim of Grisha, their father. But Zeke, like the good older brother he thinks he is, takes on the mission of saving the young man. Both get in touch again for what, according to the preview of the next episode, will be a trip to the past. To the good times and to the bad times.
So far, “Attack on Titan” combines tension and feelings. The core of the episode, its beating heart, was in the battle, where the action served to tell compelling stories. Even without the “Roads” scene, we were already looking at a remarkable episode that combined revelations with tension and character development. Much of the plots conducted up to this point converge and, in the best television tradition, show just enough. But the chapter does not stop there, because the mystical moment extends the story, it is the fabric that connects the violence of today with that of the past. Altogether, this is one of the best episodes of the series; besides being one of those narrative pieces that seem longer than they really are due to the density of information, but also its emotionality.
- Eren showed that he still has feelings. He asks Zeke not to yell. He knows that among those who have consumed the contaminated wine there are soldiers he knows.
- The scene where all those who drank the contaminated wine are transformed into titans must be one of the most emotional in the entire series. He gave, at least, a few moments to the viewer to say goodbye to characters like Pixis and Nile, whom he has known for years.
- The appearance of the classic titans was another great moment, since they don’t have as many opportunities to cause misfortune as they did at the beginning of the series.
- Another great moment: when Eren loses his mind and the series stops time. Great job from the Mappa studio moving the camera around to add to the impact.
- There is a sequence of loose images after Eren’s beheading. A lot of attention to the images that are seen there, which have SPOILERS for those who have already read the manga. But even so, an additional doubt arises: as in the same manga, the characters from “Attack on School Castes” also appear briefly; an alternate reality created by the original author, Hajime Isayama, for humor, and has no relation to the manga.
- There is also a scene of Reiner in a sauna, a reference to certain extra manga cover.
- Finally, the fact that Ymir is a slave, for reasons not yet explained, puts the role of her “subjects” in perspective.
- Unanswered question: Why was Porco only able to access his brother’s memories by touching Reiner?
4.5 stars out of 5
You can watch new episodes of “Attack on Titan” every Sunday on Crunchyroll.