“Attack on Titan” (“Shingeki no Kyojin”) did not end last Sunday, April 3. Instead, it will return in 2023 with the third part of its last season, which seems like a bad joke considering that since 2020 it has been announced that this series is in the final stretch. Beyond the reasons that led to Mappa, the animation studio, and NHK, the channel that broadcasts it in Japan; to make the decision to delay completion; the series left us with a remarkable episode. And true to his style, he gives rise to debate.
Next, SPOILERS for “Attack on Titan” 87, “The dawn of humanity”.
The episode does something unusual and offers us two specific points of view. The first half of the episode is told from the perspective of Mikasa Ackerman, who recalls the scouting party’s trip to Marley before the declaration of war. We know that Eldia wanted a path to peace, but in enemy territory he found hatred even in the “allied” groups.
But “The Dawn of Humanity” is not alone in revealing this information and thus “justifying” Eren’s crime. In this memory appear the citizens of Marley, who live their lives normally, but whose xenophobia arises at the slightest provocation, not only against the “demons of the island”; but against migrants as is the case of Ramzi, a child that Eren’s group finds. The situation is not easy because this child is also a thief. It would have been very easy to show that the boy did nothing wrong and was just attacked, but “Attack on Titan” refuses to go down that road. Here everyone, even the kindest, is stained.
These memories of Mikasa are not only valuable for the information they offer, but for how she interprets them. Mikasa wonders if she chose not to see what Eren was really like.. This is an approach that had been lacking in this season, where the soldier had little prominence, as an entity without will, pending only from Eren; different from the Mikasa of the first seasons, where she had more decision. This first half of the episode, while having a fairly limited point of view, puts details on a canvas where we’ve only seen rough brush strokes before. The Attack Titan even cries, for no apparent reason, hinting at internal conflict.
“Attack on Titan, which seemed to be a story of humanity’s resistance against an impossible threat, became the origin of a villain.”
This first part of the episode also does something unheard of in “Attack on Titan”: exploring Eren’s feelings towards Mikasa, who wonders if a few different words at the time, confessing his love to the soldier, properly would have prevented the genocide. But there is no time to delve into regret, as the memory shows that Eren chased Ramzi to his refugee camp. There, perhaps in gratitude for saving him, the little boy’s family and friends throw a precarious but happy party with alcohol, food and music; a moment of unusual happiness in a series that is sustained by constant death. It is one of these scenes that, when viewing it, is identified as happiness before horror. It may also be that this is the only moment in the entire series where we see a sincere smile in Eren after his childhood; not an awkward or naive smile, but the expression of someone who appreciates what he has.
Just after this moment the characters verify once again, in the congress held to debate the fate of Paradise Island, that the world will not accept them. This is where Mikasa loses track of Eren and where the second part of the episode begins.
This is the first time in the entire season that we have the point of view of Eren Yeager, convinced that exterminating all the countries outside the island is the only solution to save his friends. He knows this even before he sets foot in Marley and reveals the plan to two people, first to Floch Forster, as he needs an ally willing to get his hands dirty; and then to the “worst girl in the world”; Reiss story.
But we don’t just see conversations with both of them. The episode also redisplays another moment of the conversation that Eren and Zeke had in Marley before the declaration of war; where Eren’s feelings for Mikasa are re-explored. All this forms a kind of puzzle, with scenes separated by days in some cases, by weeks in others; where the bearer of the Attack Titan shows decision to commit genocide, in what we know is the conviction of being right after seeing the future.
Like everything in this series, how certain situations are shown makes it difficult to have specific thoughts towards a character. Eren, within all the horror that he proposes to carry out, provokes rejection, but also pain when his self-mutilation is observed to infiltrate as a wounded Eldian. A kind of punishment for what he is about to do and that the viewer, after weeks of waiting, will finally see. We get our first look at the power of “Earth Rumble,” where countless colossal-type titans make their way across the world and, in this case, the sea. The alliance of countries has prepared an army of ships to stop the beasts.
It’s one brutal scene in a series full of brutal scenes, not necessarily because of the destruction, which is present: titans belching steam with such power and heat that they destroy enemy flesh and send battleships flying; titans that withstand cannon fire as if they were mosquito bites. It is the reverse version of the fear that Paradise Island felt for a hundred years with the harassment of the titans outside the walls. The soldiers, before they perish, have the infernal vision of the Attack Titan, a cage of bones that rises towards the sky.
Then we return to the point of view of Eren, who repeats the words he said years ago when the titans crushed his home. “I will destroy them all.” He kept his word, but the scene is presented to the viewer not as that of a hero achieving his goal, but as that of a monster breaking through. Without that phrase, without those strategically placed memories, this would be the representation of an apocalypse and nothing more. It is not that “Attack on Titan” wants us to empathize with Eren, or not only that, because it is the message that he has told since the first episode. After showing him as a hero for so many years, framing his actions in this way is the most honest thing to do. This is the story that Eren started and now ends it.
“Attack on Titan” will premiere its last episodes in 2023, when it will be 10 years since the anime first aired. A story that seemed to be about humanity’s resistance against an impossible threat, became the origin of a villain who, despite his support networks, chose to inflict pain on everyone without caring that the just pay for it. sinners. It is not a simple series, because of the plot on one side, but also because of the parallels with the real world; the plot of the Eldians is even more sinister if you take a closer look at what it represents. I want to believe that the fans would not have shown so much empathy with Eren if they had known what he would do years later. Or that the animation studio had framed the actions of this character with heroism.
It may already be too late to convince real life Yaegers of Eren’s true nature; while in fiction it would be even later to avoid a massacre. But that has always been a constant in “Shingeki no Kyojin”: even when it seems impossible, humanity continues to fight.
- Why is an episode with so much death called “Dawn of Mankind”? It depends on who they consider to be human. If Eren is capable of so much, he necessarily sees others, non-Eldians, as disposable beings.
- Ramzi’s name is mentioned in the manga later. We will know more about him in 2023.
- Although Mikasa had her deserved share of prominence, this has been insufficient not because her point of view has had few scenes, but because it revolved around Eren. The author does not allow Mikasa to have dreams of her own, who always puts the love of his life first.
- This goes to some extent with Historia Reiss, whose character development was put on the shelf this season. The queen, when she finally shows up, does so to confront Eren about the genocide she will commit.
- “What if I had a son?” These words of History sowed doubts in the manga and sow doubts now. What if the father of the baby is actually Eren?
- Another unanswered question: Did Eren erase Historia’s memories?
- Levi’s scene with the clown deserves a separate text. too much fun
- Mikasa’s happiness at tasting ice cream is something that will freely live in my memory forever.
- The choice of topicVogel im Kafig” (“Caged Bird”) to show Eren in full destruction is not accidental. It is the song that was heard, albeit without voices, when his mother was killed by a titan. For Eren, committing this genocide is the right thing to do in a twisted way.
- Translated from German, the lyrics of “Vogel…” are very accurate with what happens in the episode: “All that lives will one day die / Whether we are ready to die or not / That day will surely come”. But, like the series itself, it is a contradictory theme whose last stanza says that “no one should be capriciously deprived of his life”.
- Continuing with the musical analysis, the opening of this batch of episodes, “The Rumbling”, represents Eren’s justification. “All I ever wanted to do was save your life I never wanted to grab a knife, I swear” (“All I ever wanted was to save your life, I never wanted to take the knife, I swear”). All one red flag.
- Eren becomes what he swore to destroy: someone who takes away their freedom from others. A figurative cage, but also a literal one, due to the form that its Founding Titan assumes.
- Mikasa wonders if, by giving Eren a different answer, some fundamental change would have occurred. An impossible question to answer. But the responsibility for this truncated love story is not only Mikasa’s, but also Eren’s. Why the two did not take a step towards romance in the previous years is not clearly explained in the series and only speculation remains.
- Eren’s expression that opens this article has to be one of the most heartbreaking images in this entire anime.
- It is sad that this episode is being broadcast just as Ukraine is going through its own ordeal at the hands of Russia; a conflict where even war crimes have been reported.
4.5 stars out of 5
more of the titans
On TV and manga
hbo max released all three Attack on Titan compilation films. They adapt the first and second season.
If you want to legally read the “Attack on Titan” manga: In Latin America it has been published by Ovni Press (Argentina) and Panini Manga (Mexico). In Spain the rights belong to Norma Editorial. These three versions circulate through Latin American bookstores. In English, the manga is available digitally through the Comixology website.
Attack on Titan
Humanity is at the mercy of naked man-eating giants. But the truth behind the attacks is much more sinister.
Created by Hajime Isayama
Voice actors: Yūki Kaji, Yui Ishikawa, Marina Inoue.