After an episode where the conflict was equal parts physical and psychological, “Attack on Titan” (“Shingeki no Kyojin”) unleashes its full potential in a fight of humans against titans, but not like those already known. There’s an alliance here, and for the first time, some Marley titans are collaborating with the Exploration Group. The series has already accustomed us to moments of violence, but despite that, it manages to surprise.
Here are SPOILERS for “Attack on Titan” 86, “Flashback”:
Brutality made anime
Having combat-ready Titans doesn’t guarantee automatic victory for the Rebel Alliance, which has a hard time securing control of the plane. The deceased Daz and Samuel were just two soldiers, and the Yaegers are legion. The goal is still simple, but the steps to achieve it are exciting; at each decision of the side that opposes the “rumble of the earth”, their enemies attack in numbers.
As it takes several hours to get the aircraft up and running, making it impossible to stay in Eldia port, the plan is to bring it to Odiha port in Marley; that, although it could be reached by the “rumble of the earth”, at least it offers a chance of survival. Thus, instead of simply attacking the Yaegers, the mission of the titans and soldiers is to defend Hizuru’s engineers until their evacuation by ship.
It is this change of plans that tilts the battle in favor of the Yaegers, who immobilize the Armor and Female titans and would have killed them had it not been for Falco Grice’s intervention; whose Titan Jaw makes a difference in battle. Acts of heroism are not exclusive to one side, as Floch Forster risks his life to destroy the “traitors'” ship in a sequence that shows how much the character has changed since we saw him fall into despair under Erwin’s command.
But Floch is unsuccessful when he is shot by Gabi Braun, this season’s most hated character; with which he closes the circle of ambivalence, where the villains of yesterday are the heroes of today and vice versa. It all depends on the viewer’s point of view. For example, from this episode Mikasa Ackerman ceases to be a hero for Eldia. The speed with which she literally tore the Yeagerists to pieces is an unprecedented exercise in violence for a series that became famous precisely for its brutality. By the end of the battle, the blood spilled by men and titans is so great that even the sea is dyed red.
Until here, “Attack on Titan” 86 was already a remarkable episode, but it goes further in its final minutes when General Theo Magath stays on the ground to bring up the rear. Since there is a ship left in port that the Yaegers could use to hunt down the Rebel Alliance, he has to destroy it. But he will not be alone in this mission, because he has the help of Keith Shadis, who minutes before had already destroyed the train with reinforcements. He is also the figure who watched Annie and Armin’s escape from Shiganshina.
The sacrifice of Magath and Shadis to destroy the ship, where both soldiers discover they have in common how much they appreciate their disciples, is a good ending, where these characters offer not only another point of view of the heroes, but of themselves. Two men trained to kill wish that those boys who lost so much could have a life away from war.
The episode closes with a difficult scene for the warriors, who learn of the upcoming arrival of the “rumble” in Liberio, which will kill their families. Once again, Mikasa finds herself cornered where she cannot defend herself, not with physical strength, but with words. An emotionally devastated Annie reminds him that killing Eren is the only way out for her at this point, though she has no desire to continue the violence. What good is that when everything you fight for is going to disappear?
With just one episode before going on hiatus, “Attack on Titan” delivers everything that made it famous, whether it’s suggested or stylized violence, strategic thinking, provocative speech, and multiple viewpoints where there are no easy answers; where even Floch’s fight can be understood. These episodes have shown the internal pain and contradictions of heroes and villains; there is no reason to believe that the next episode will be any different.
- As there are two alliances, the one of warriors and members of the scouting corps and also the one of countries against Eldia, for a practical reason I will call the first one the Rebel Alliance. Like in “Star Wars”.
- The episode’s title, “Flashback,” refers to the memories both Magath and Shadis have of their disciples.
- Reiner, by protecting Annie with his body, makes use of the behavior that has characterized him since Porco’s death. Even in the most difficult circumstances, he wants to prove himself useful.
- Falco means falcon and his titan appears to have feathers as well as bird talons. It is not difficult to guess what will happen to him. Let us remember that the first scene of the character shows him observing a bird on the battlefield.
- A lot of attention with the old man that Jean remembers. Who is he? Where does he appear?
- By far, the criticism on social networks towards Mikasa and Gabi, in general, has been greater than that received by Floch and Eren; despite the fact that the latter endorse extrajudicial executions and genocide. Sexism continues as the cancer of this fandom.
- Now that I mention Floch, it’s impossible not to mention his action sequence.
- Mappa outdid himself in this episode with the fight sequences, where the best ones don’t appear in the manga. I highlight the work of the animation director, Michel Sugimoto; as well as Malcolm Wope, who cheered on Mikasa in his big scene.
- Great vocal work by Yū Shimamura, the voice of Annie, portraying the sorrow of a daughter who is going to lose her father.
- “When the titans were the biggest threat, the titans were the enemy. When countries were the biggest threat, countries were the enemy. As long as people hold to different beliefs, there will always be an enemy.”. This message, which appears midway through the episode, seems to be directed at fans who support Eren’s decision.
- On Sunday, March 27, no episode will be broadcast. instead, there will be an “Attack on Titan” panel at the Anime Japan event, where the final batch of episodes or even a movie to wrap up the story could be announced.
4.5 stars out of 5
The final episode of “Attack on Titan: The Final Season” part 2 premieres Sunday, April 3 only on Crunchyroll.
“Attack on Titan” season 4
Heroes become villains in the final act of the most provocative anime of the last 10 years.
Cast: Yuki Kaji, Yui Ishikawa, Marina Inoue, etc.