Attack on Titan
Last season in Attack on Titan we dealt with the basement reveal. This was the event that the series had been building since season 1. It was the big mystery that we had yet to uncover . Up till that point we had a lot of time spent with humanity battling giant humanoid monsters who wanted to eat them called Titans, and then suddenly the show slowly started to evolve. So by season 3 part 1 the story had turned into a political thriller filled with deception, and conspiracies.
And the greatest conspiracy of them all was what was in the basement?
And then we found out. That it was well...books. But not just any books. These books revealed the true history of the Attack on Titan universe leading to us finding out that our heroes were a race called "Eldians," and that the rest of the world wanted to persecute the eldian people for their sins.
Eldians have been thought by some as a stand in for the jews. We find out that Eren's dad grew up in a internment zone were he and other eldians were made to live a life filled with poverty, and pain. One day Eren's dad, Grisha, decided to try and leave the walls with his sister only for him to be faced with the crushing cruelty of the world he was living in as his little sister was devoured by dogs.
After this Grisha attempts to avenge his sister by going against the Marleyan government, the people who rule over the country and have been subjugating Eldians to their cruel fate, but ultimately his plan fails as his son, Zeke, rats him out the government forcing many of Grisha's friends to be forcefully turned into titans to attack Eren's people who live inside the walls.
After Eren and the other survey corps members find this out they eventually travel outside the walls to see where Eldians are forced to be turned. Once they see the truth Eren Yaeger makes the commitment to travel across the ocean and kill his enemies so he can finally be free.
This is a truly dark setup for what is coming for the final season, and truly changed the entire nature of Attack on Titan making it into something far more complex than it ever was.
In the first episode of Attack on Titan: The Final Season we are launched into a bloodbath as we see the hardships that war can bring as Falco, the young boy in the image, reaches out to a bird flying in the sky as his comrades are being killed. This scene pulls you straight into the narrative as you begin to wonder what is going on here? Who is this young boy? The boy is then saved by another child and taken to safety and here we learn that these kids are eldians forced to fight in wars for the Marleyan government.
This shows how much the Eldians have been forced into this position of being oppressed as the episode does a good job of showcasing the pain these eldians are put through. We see scenes of Eldian soldiers forced being forced to wear bombs to go out into battle and die for Marley if it ever comes down to it. This shows how worthless the lives of Eldians are to the rest of the world. And Eldians are forced to accept this reality and try to be good soldiers for them.
This acceptance is shown perfectly in the character of Gabi Braun, a little eldian girl,who has given herself to helping defeat Marley’s enemies and proving that there are good eldians out there. We understand that Gabi is willing to do whatever it takes to prove herself to Marley even at the cost of her own life. Despite us knowing that this girl has been brainwashed by her government it is also easy to immediately fall in love with Gabi after seeing her ingenuity in battle and her cocky attitude. Gabi is beaming with personality.
However this episode also reintroduces us to old characters like Reiner and Zeke who are used as trump cards in battle to quickly win the war. Both of these characters show an enormous amount of skill and manage to kill a lot of enemies, but we see that they are at their limits as titans. We learn in this episode that many countries have been creating weapons to defeat the titans more quickly and thus making Reiner and Zeke start to feel useless in battle. If not for their own battle hardened experiences they may have not been able to win with their titan power alone. This creates tension for us because we understand that Reiner and Zeke are no longer invincible threats. This is great as now we will be focusing a lot on these characters and it will be important to finding a way to ground them.
Animation and Opening
Before I finish this review off I wanted to talk about the two biggest controversies for this first episode. People have talked about the CGI titans not looking great, and to that I can kind of understand. Whenever a show that had what seemed like 2D animation suddenly makes the choice to go 3D it can feel out of place. The animation by Mappa Studio was exceptionally good up till that point so it easy to see why people would think the CGI is out of place. I was definitely taking out the scene when I saw these 3D titans come out.
Now the opening was a big disappointment for a lot of people. Attack on Titan is known for having some great hype openings in the past so when people saw a more artsy opening for the final season people were very disappointed. However as a manga reader I loved the new opening. Understanding that this season was going to be very different from the previous one there would need to be a drastic change to the way the opening flowed, and I personally felt that Mappa did an exceptional job showcasing how this season would feel different from all the previous ones and because of that I really loved it. The imagery was shocking, the music choice was terrifyingly perfect. I just all around loved the new opening.
Overall this is a strong way to start the season off, and get people wanting to learn more about these characters and the world they inhabit. We are getting to learn about life for the people on the other side. The characters we know that Eren has vowed to kill. We don't know where the story is going to go from here but it has us intrigued.
For all of that and more Attack on Titan The Final Season episode 1 isn't just a recommendation, but rather it is a series that I implore people to check out!! This is exceptional storytelling.
Attack on Titan The Final Season Episode 1 Review
Writing - 10/1010/10
Plot - 9/109/10
Character Development - 10/1010/10
Production - 8/108/10
Music - 9/109/10
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