Attack on Titan retains its legendary status

WSS staffer Sam Westergaard ’21 reviews the first half of Attack on Titan’s final season.

Attack on Titan (AOT) has become a modern classic amongst anime fans and non-anime fans alike. The series was created by Hajime Isayama and revolves around the last bit of humanity trapped within walls by man eating titans. I feel a lot of AOT’s hype comes from it’s dark story, and brutal violence. Although these factors are important there is more to the show then meets the eye, and the first half of its final season is no expectation. 

Before I continue I’d like to go over my quick thoughts on the opening. Like most fans I was somewhat skeptical about it, but by episode 16 I found myself jamming along. The visuals also are quite interesting. We see identical soldiers marching, airships flying, and naval boats prepare for attack while huge explosions of bright colors go off. It captures the militarist country of Marley quite well, and fits for the arc. It’s also quite a contrast compared to the other openings, which mainly have the main characters fighting, and whatnot. Just like the rest of the series’ openings this one is legendary. 


*Before I continue, there will be tons of spoilers for Attack on Titan. You’ve been warned*


Now, onto the beginning of Attack on Titan’s end. The first half of the season mainly focused on the Marley story arc, and the start of the War for Paradis arc. Out of the two I’d have to say the former was somewhat better than the latter. Granted the War for Paradis arc is just beginning, but based on what we’ve seen of the season so far the Marley arc had some of the finest episodes. 

Specifically, chapters 5-8 were probably the best run of episodes the series has ever had. The four eps. just kept getting better, and better. The voice acting was also incredible. Yuki Kaji (Eren) delivers a very hostile but calm performance, while  Yoshimasa Hosoya (Reiner) sounds as though he has seen a ghost, both are perfect for their respective characters. Their conversation in Episode 5, Declaration of War is so tense, and two voice actors’ performances are exceptional. Episodes 5-8 also feature the best battles the series has to offer. The scope is huge during each clash, the atmosphere is very tense, and the music is so grand and emotional. These factors evaluate each fight especially in the episode, Assault. Assault is probably my favorite episode of the whole show for the reasons I previously mentioned. Like most of AOT, these episodes are also very upsetting, but well done at the same time. An example of this is when one of our main protagonists, Armin (Marina Inoue) nukes an enemy’s bay and navy with his Colossal Titan. In most other anime it’d be a victory for the heroes, but here we see the burnt civilians, and demolished homes. The cherry on the sadness cake is Armin’s distressing reaction to his destruction. It’s very painful, and the tip of Attack on Titan’s dark side. Overall these episodes 5-8 are spectacular, and the series’ best.

Levi Ackerman is the best character. (MAPPA studio)

My only complaint with the first half of season 4 are the episodes that began the War for Paradis arc. Episodes 10 and 11 sort of blend together in my eyes. They really aren’t bad, I just think nothing that groundbreaking happens. The episodes are centered arround the Survey Corps returning to Paradis, and Eren being thrown in jail. The two just don’t feel that different from one another. Both are really dialogue heavy, and some of the character interactions are forgettable. I’m not complaining that there is no action. I simply believe the episodes aren’t that memorable and didn’t do much for me. Keep in mind this is just a minor problem, and doesn’t ruin the season.

Now then back to the good, one of the best parts is the characters. The characters of AOT are very important. A character that stuck out quite a bit this season was Reiner. He’s always been a rather upsetting character but during the Marley arc I really felt bad for him. Reiner is a character that is plagued by the pain and destruction he faced when he infiltrated Paradis. By season 4 he has reached the end of the line, but he can’t bring himself to end things due to his loyalty to his allies. His internal struggle makes him feel less like a villain and more like a sad man who’s had enough. Every time he’s on screen I can’t help but feel bad for him. 

Of course I have to mention, our “hero,” Eren. At the start of the series he started out as an aggressive child who wanted revenge on the titans but now he’s turned into a sociopathic terrorist who views everyone as his enemy.  Eren’s transformation from hero to villain is complete. He no longer values his allies and only seeks to destroy the world. He is not completely evil, rather he is influenced by the world he was born into. Growing up trapped in walls, Eren has hated being caged and feels that those who threaten his freedom are enemies. He also hates those who lack free will, and sees them as cattle. He simply wants to be free, which is what many seek. That said, he is still a vile character, that kills innocents to get what he wants. He’s very despicable, but also a compelling protagonist. 

One character that fans have been hating on is Gabi (Ayane Sakura). I get why people don’t like her (she did kill Sasha after all). However she is a well written character. She’s meant to mirror season 1 Eren, she’s very aggressive, and stuck in her ways. So she has a purpose and fulfills it. 

Something else that some fans have been hating on MAPPA studio’s use of CGI. At first sight of CGI, a handful of fans were outraged. I don’t really understand why. The animation looks really good, and I feel it matches the Manga quite well. I’ll be honest when I watched the first episode of season 4, it was sort of strange, because of how different it looks. Yet afterward I got used to it, and the animation really grew on me. The detail on the characters looks very intricate, and the movements flow well. I’ve definitely seen way worse CGI in anime. 

Attack on Titan definitely on my top 10 anime list, and If you couldn’t tell from the paragraphs the first half of Attack on Titan season 4 is really astonishing. The fourth season’s first half has withheld the series’ legendary status. The story is engrossing, the battles are grand, and the characters are very well written. I firmly believe it will go down in anime history, as one of the greats.