SPOILER FREE Where to begin? This episode begins the conclusion of what can be described as peak fiction. It has had its extreme highs and, at worst, some lesser highs which concludes with this season. This review covers the first episode / two chapters. Overall, the story is just incredible. Going from the end of the last season straight back into the action, the transition between these two parts is seamless. It provides some small recap and backstory while also not breaking any pacing. Some potential plot holes are addressed and the characters are brought together excellently. They are given extreme goals with good motives and a strong implication that their efforts, while seeming futile in the dire situation, are achievable. They stomp out any plot points too which may have been present had it not been written so excellently. It truly does bring the whole series together, acknowledgeing all of its history and demonstrates resulting consequences shown in the present. It explores themes of death, grief, terror and regret excellently and thrives in its emotionally driven plot. The story is a 10 as I truly struggle to find fault here. Animation is a pride point of MAPPA and this is their crowning achievement. I have never experienced animation, both 2D and 3DCGI which perfectly captures the vision of a Mangaka. Isayama will surely be thrilled with MAPPA as every fight scene, intense character moment, high paced action scene and the overall landscape are made with perfection. The use of lighting is fantastic as it always feels like the scenes are alive with every object and character interacting with the world seamlessly. All of this so far could be a 10 but the truth is what seals it is the Titans and ODM scenes. For the titans, a horde of mindless drone titans marching should not look as good as it does however each titan bursts with personality from their movements and facial designs. They genuinely interact perfectly with the world and have some of the best depicted gore scenes in all of anime as a reault. The ODM scenes took what WIT had in early seasons and fully ran with it, making up for the lack thereof in earlier seasons under MAPPAs run. Every movement and maneuver feels so alive and the adjustment of pacing in real time truly makes the characters, environments and titans truly shine in this masterful animation. The 3DCGI titans look phenomenal - some of the best work I've seen in animated media. The implementation is seamless with the titans and characters complimenting each other rather than clashing as seen in Season 2 of WITs run of attack on titan. The animation can only be described as true cinema. A 10. Sound design has nothing to complain about even slightly. The soundtrack is as good as it has always been for AOT where you truly feel that every scene has been orchestrally crafted. SIM has provided a fantastic outro theme and it stands up with the other Goliaths in the AOT openings and outros, surpassing many before it, with its apocalyptic chord progressions, incredible vocals, musical storytelling which relates to the previous SIM soundtrack, the Rumbling, and is accompanied by stunning yet stark visuals. The soundtrack has every song catered to each individual scene and adds buckets of personality to every instance on screen; even scenes with no music are incredibly effective as they are used to let the characters reflect on the truly bleak situation they are in alongside the audience. The voice acting is perfect with so much emotion and raw passion in every line delivered. The cast are truly connected with their characters and know the story, view and lives of what they are portraying. It is so consistent throughout, never failing to bring scenes to life. The sound effects are incredible throughout with each instance of them being used adding so much to the scenes they are in. You can truly feel the wrath, gore, dynamic movement and everything else happening on screen, complimenting the visuals perfectly. A true masterpiece in sound design. 10 /10. Some of the best character moments in AOT are witnessed in this installment as we see the cast suffering through grief, loss, dread, horror, terror and regret. Positive themes of determination, power, unity, selflessness, bewilderment and sacrifice are used fantastically making for a nonstop rollercoaster of emotions for the viewers throughout. Personally, I believe they dabble to much on regret in this installment as a lot of characters seem to not regret their actions but rather the scale of the actions taken which isn't done too perfectly and can be a little repetitive with no less than five characters discussing regret without seeming to be best explained. The raw drive and determination of the characters however more than make up for this. We see characters complete their arcs in the greatest of fashions delivering true emotion in the process. In these moments, we can observe the culmination of what these characters have worked towards from the beginning and it leaves the viewer the most rewarding feeling. Characters also subvert our expectations here as, despite being a little jarring sometimes, manage to steer the plot into a whole other direction leaving viewers excited and surprised as our expectations are shattered and replaced by suspense, disbelief and joy. Not a single character feels wasted and I can give this a very strong 9/10. TLDR: This season of AOT is extremely rewarding to the viewers and truly subverts our expectations of what can be achieved by animation. Every scene packs so much of a punch with the hour long episode flying by with it personally feeling no longer than a 40 minute double chapter episode. You will struggle to find a better season of fiction and will never find an animation which comes close to this in the current and all previous eras of animated media. I can safely rate this episode an outstanding 9.8/10
Peak Fiction! I know not everyone is happy with the ending but I'm very satisfied with how the story wrapped up (that's a lie I'm actually devastated) *punches air* I know there's really no 'right' or 'wrong' side in AOT... almost everyone has a blurred/ skewed moral compass yet, it's hard not to take Eren's side. I didn't watch 3 seasons of him, the scouts & the people of Paradis struggling and losing everything just to not take his side bc he pulled an Uno reverse card. I'm not feeling very philosophical right now so I'm not going to go into details but Eren has all his life been fighting for 'freedom' always seeking to live in a world where there were no walls restricting him, wanting to see a world beyond the ocean, then wanting revenge for his mother by eradicating all titans, to discovering the truth and turning his hatred towards the 'real' enemies and now his entire mental state has completely shifted, losing sight of his morality and the 'freedom' he actually wanted. It was either Paradis and his friends or the world that hated them and wanted them gone... free my homie he did nothing wrong It's quite funny how only AFTER Eren started the rumbling, THEN people (Marley) started to use their critical thinking skills... "all the problems arose from our faults we dumped onto the 'island devils'... now our hatred is coming right back towards us.... - Get rumbled, stay humbled (:
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