Natural disasters give humanity little time to act prudently. When they occur, it remains to react based on previous experience, on drills. But no one inAttack on Titan” (“Shingeki no Kyojin”) has experienced a tragedy like the ‘Earth Rumble’, so it is reasonable that this disaster caused by Eren has dismantled all power relations. Not even the characters are clear on where to go, and if episodes 81 and 82 are any indication, it’s that this will continue for a while longer.
Below, SPOILERS for “Attack on Titan” 82, “Sunset”:
chaos and nationalism
The lack of direction is represented in the conversation that Armin and Mikasa hold in the ruins of the Shiganshina barracks. Mikasa, disoriented now that Eren started the path to crush all living beings in the world except the inhabitants of Paradise Island; she doesn’t know what to do and asks Armin for advice. But it is a situation where a blind man guides another, because he does not know how to proceed either and, unlike his friend, he loses control and manifests all the problems they have to face.
It is not an anxiety attack, since all the problems that Armin mentions have the potential to cause a lot of damage. Each as important as the other, and there is not enough time or allies to discuss priorities. In a way, this scene is a reflection of Armin from the first season, insecure, but unlike back then, he has not lost in idealism, he has gained in pragmatism.
But in all the chaos of “Attack on Titan” after the ‘Rumble’, Armin is aware that keeping the human sides together is key to victory. Hence, he allies with Gabi to search for Falco, rescue him from the hands of Conny, who seeks to use the child to revive his mother who has been turned into a titan for years. In the grand scheme of things, the best decision Armin or anyone can make is to leave Paradise Island now that Floch, more of a Yeager than Eren Yeager, is in the process of purging anyone who doesn’t agree with his worldview.
Floch speaks of the “New Eldian Empire,” of keeping traitors like Yelena and other Marley “volunteers” at bay. He is judge, jury and executioner while the collateral victims of the ‘Rumble’, as a dark reflection of their leaders, are also divided into factions; even among the injured there are those who justify Eren. This new Eldia thus completes her transformation into what Marley has been for the last century: a nation where the end justifies the means. Worth the differences, the parallels between Eldia and the Germany prior to the rise of Adolf Hitler to power are evident. Let us remember that, in “Attack on titan”, there was also an economic and social crisis prior to the recovery of Muro María; besides that the inhabitants of Paradis were discontented after their last, and secret, war.
But even so, the series takes the trouble to show nuances, where not all members of an infamous organization are the same. I don’t mean just Armin, Jean, Mikasa and others. There is Keith Shadis, resigned to his execution as a dissident, who asks the new generations to wait for the right moment and reform the country when it is within their reach.
the heart of the stories
The multiple readings of “Attack on Titan” 82 establish resemblances between Eldia and Marley not only in their military history; also in the personal history of the soldiers. The episode features Conny taking Falco away to use as a means of reviving her mother, where the latter trusts the soldier without knowing his fate. Conny is just someone who wants to get back what he lost, not unlike Annie.
Annie spent years locked up to protect herself from Eldia and, now that she is free, she wants to keep the promise she made to her father to return home. The relationship she had with him is complicated, where the man forced her to become a warrior and thus get him prestige from her as an honorary Marlyense. But there is affection between the two, although the author does not finish explaining it. Instead, we do learn more about Annie’s mindset in her murderous crusade within the walls. By becoming a titan within the Stohess district, she led to the deaths of countless innocent citizens who, according to her military training, were acceptable casualties.
It is the dehumanization of the ‘other’ that, for these soldiers, is necessary in order to fulfill their mission. With the ‘Rumble’, Eren takes this difference to the extreme. Now it’s up to the rest of the cast to find a way out of the circle once they sort themselves out amidst the chaos. Armin wants to do just that by enlisting the help of Marley’s titans, and not far away, the opposing sides are already rapprochement when Theo Magath and Pieck Finger find Hange Zoë, who is protecting an injured Levi Ackerman. As the end of a certain movie says, “I feel that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
- Like episode 81, 82 adapts only one chapter of the manga, 125 (volume 31).
- If it is considered that the season will end in 12 episodes, it is most likely that the season will close with the final chapter of volume 32. Thus, there would be two volumes left to adapt, either in a third part or a movie.
- The episode is also a very faithful adaptation of the manga, with each scene playing out identically to the original. Scattered themes that, however, maintain thematic cohesion. Not for nothing, Bloomberg highlights in an article Isayama’s qualities as a narrator rather than an illustrator (the first volumes of the story had graphic deficiencies).
- “Sunset” also marks the end of the most complicated day in the history of Eldia: the invasion of Marley, the battle of Shiganshina, the death of Eren, the resurrection of Eren, the ‘Rumble’, the coup, the titanization of military; etc.
- If they had trouble understanding Mikasa, who seems confused, it’s because the anime hasn’t adapted most of chapter 123 of the manga; narrated from his perspective.
- Big moment in the episode: When Jean reflects on the life she wanted as a young girl. Detonating the genocide guarantees peace for Paradise Island, a comfortable social position for him behind the Sina wall. But does that justify betraying friends like Onyankopon?
- Armin, convinced that Erwin should have survived and not him during the battle to close Wall Maria, adds another layer of conflict to an already complicated situation; in addition to the fact that he echoes the same story of Erwin, tormented by his own guilt.
- Annie turned out to be an orphan, which adds another meaning to her name.
- Finally, there is a shot that unnecessarily shows Annie’s crotch. Even Mappa, with all the graphic quality it possesses, does not escape fanservice.
4 stars out of 5
You can watch “Attack on Titan” every Sunday afternoon on Crunchyroll.