Winter 2021 is here and the anime lineup for the year couldn’t be better! 2021 is already looking bright and hopeful with all the anime coming out this year. But one anime that everyone is enjoying immensely is Attack on Titan: The Final Season, also known as Shingeki no Kyojin. Season 3 Part 2 ended with a lot of unanswered questions and we’re all looking forward to how this season will wrap up this wonderful anime. Four episodes are out at the time of writing as the anime took a break for New Year’s Day but so far, the anime has shown a lot of promise.
With Studio MAPPA adapting the anime this season, the animation has so far been memorable, staying true to the unique, dark-toned style and uncompromising details of Attack on Titan. The character design has changed quite a bit in comparison to Wit Studio’s adaptation but most of the characters stay true to how we remember them. With that brief commentary on the animation, let’s move on to other impressions of Attack on Titan: The Final Season in terms of plot and storyline.
The Honorary Marleyan Perspective
The new season opens not in the walled cities on Paradis Island where our main characters reside, but in the city of Marley. We are introduced to new Eldian characters who are in the middle of war with the Middle Eastern Federation. Four years have passed and Reiner is back in Marley. Colt will inherit the Beast Titan from Zeke while there is a lot of tension between determined yet unskilled Falco and extremely accomplished yet prideful Gabi on who will inherit the Armor Titan from Reiner.
Starting the season with new characters instead of old favorites was definitely a bold move but the importance of these characters was not fully exposed. In fact, the storyline got confusing for most of us but knowing Attack on Titan, we are not too worried. It is too early to judge conclusively with four episodes and we hope that we realize their importance and maybe even care about these characters somewhere along the way when things start to come together again. On a lighter note, watching the interactions between the new characters and their lifestyle gave significant insights into the question: Who is truly Humanity’s Enemy? The four episodes shed much light into how subjective this question truly was.
The Image of War and Carnage
As mentioned before, the anime starts in the midst of war. There were many World War One references that were carved into the storyline which amplified the horrors of war by striking close to reality. We see the prejudices and cruelty faced by Eldians at the hands of Marleyans. The way the Eldians were easily sacrificed and turned into Titans to win the war was chilling to watch. While it is estimated that the time period of Marleyan Empire is akin to the 1920s of our world, the internment zones for the Eldians where they were almost prisoners of society showed the cruel reality. We see how Eldians are considered demons even in Marley and are forced to pay a penance for the cruelty their ancestors inflicted many years ago.
The Noose That Ties Family
Through the first four episodes, we learn that the Eldians in Marley have been sufficiently brainwashed to hate the Eldians on Paradis Island, calling them demons. This is ironic because the Eldians in Marley actually support the prosperity of Marley despite the cruel treatment they face there. Reiner’s past comes to light as he seems to contemplate his loyalty to Marley and his infiltration journey at Paradis Island.
Reiner’s motive for trying to become an honorary Marleyan was only to keep his family together, having a Marleyan father and an Eldian mother, but he was in for a rude shock when his father was ashamed and fearful of his very existence. We also see what drives Falco and Gabi to become honorary Marleyans. Not to mention the familial ties between Zeke and Eren, the weight of family ties and the depressing consequences it inflicts on our characters is evident and significant.
The Iconic Reversed Infiltration
Remember how we said the character design changed dramatically? It paid off and added the shock value needed for the significant cliffhanger that concluded episode 4. Falco forms an unlikely friendship with one of the Eldian survivors of the recent war. As the two conversed often, the mysterious survivor says how he is ashamed to face his family after the war which is why he is a fake amnesiac at this hospital. At the end of episode 4, we realize that this stranger was Eren Yeager when he meets Reiner with the help of Falco.
What’s interesting about this revelation is how the tables have turned – just like Reiner infiltrated the walls, Eren infiltrated his city in return. With Falco’s help and naivity, Eren had also sent many letters outside the borders of the Eldian internment zone without raising suspicion from the Marleyan guards. We cannot wait to see what was in those letters, who he is sending them to and why Eren infiltrated Marley and met Reiner again.
The final season is just getting started and there is much to unpack already! We at Honey’s Anime are excitedly looking forward to how this season will wrap up and answer the intricate questions posed in Attack on Titan. What were your first impressions as you watched Attack on Titan? Did you enjoy it? Do you think we missed anything important? Let us know in the comments below!