“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”― Herbert Hoover
An opinion review from a fan of battle shounen genre and a big hater of Attack on Titan. The new season changed my opinion on the franchise overall, here is why. The following review will also contain some of the comments/articles, I found on the internet and I will try to find my own explanation of what Attack on Titan truly is. This, however, does not imply that my opinion is the only one that is right; there are many possible explanations and analyses of the story.
Not Just a Battle Shounen
It is an open secret that Attack on Titan is aimed at an older audience than the big anime three. Attack on Titan attracted a huge casual audience that began to watch the anime as the series peaked its popularity in 2014. And although the anime hype has subsided, it still has a huge number of loyal fans, who buy up every new game, or spin-off in the west. There was even an original comic book series and a Marvel crossover, where Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avengers fought Titans on the streets of New York. While the original manga is nearing completion, the end of the franchise is not yet to see. But as with any long manga, the closer you get to the ending, the more you understand the true meaning of the work and its message.
Throughout the series' arcs, Eren was motivated by the two things: the first being, to kill every titan in order to avenge the death of his mother and the destroyed homeland, and the second being, to get to the mysterious basement in his house and use the key that his father gave him. Even in spite of all the difficulties and problems that accompanied him thought his journey, Eren Jaeger never refused to give up on these two things. In chapter 85, he finally made it to the basement, where he found a photo of his father with another family. From the diary of Grisha Jaeger, Eren and his companions learned that he really was from the outside world. And the fact that all humanity was destroyed by the titans, and the remnants of people hid behind the walls, turned out to be a huge fraud. Grisha, and everyone outside the walls, are of the Marley people, known as the Eldians.
Long time ago, there were powerful people, who ruled the earth for almost 2,000 years. During that era, a woman named Ymir Fritz gained the power to transform into a titan. After her death, her soul was divided into 9 titans, who inherited the power of Ymir and staged terror. They began to conquer other peoples and created the Eldian Empire. Other races were treated inferior by the Eldians, oppressed and killed just for fun. Yet, the 145th King of Eldia, Karl Fritz, did not want to maintain this order of terror, and so he took most of the Eldians to the island of Pradise and with the help of the power of the Founding Titan, he erected three huge walls there. At this time, the people of Marley rebelled against Eldia, took the powers of almost all the titans and controlled the continent. As a result, everyone who remained on the mainland was either killed, or driven into a ghetto, and King Fritz, who created his city on Pradise Island, announced an ultimatum: if the Marlians try to attack the island, he will free hundreds of titans hidden inside the walls and attack the continent.
All Eldians driven into the ghetto wear one-star armbands and are considered criminals for generations to come. Those Eldians breaking the law are taken to Paradise Island, where they are injected liquid that turns them into mad titans to ravage the local lands. Grisha Yeager was involved in a revolutionary movement to restore the monarchy of Eldia. He even married the King's heiress. They had a son, Zeke, but he betrayed them and surrendered their parents to the government of Marley. As a result, the entire movement was taken to the island and turned into titans. But Grisha was saved by one of the soldiers, who turned out to be the secret leader of their resistance. He gave Grisha the power of the Titan, and sent him to find the power of the very first Titan, so that with its help he would regain the control on the continent. The manga is now on its final chapters and things are getting very interesting.
Allusion to Fascism
The story changed from just telling about the good and the evil and about those who fight for a just cause to the story about the human’s nature, where there is no black and white, only ideologies and hatred. The situation with Eldia and Marley is very easy to compare with real historic events. The heroes we were rooting for turn out to be the descendants of the oppressors, eager to regain power in their land. So, heroes turn into villains. This is not the last season of Game of Thrones. Some people even believe that the anime contains anti-Chinese and especially anti-Korean nationalist ideas with a pro-Japanese subtext. Even more, some people see it as an allusion to the confrontation between Japan and Korea. First, in the anime and the manga there are two types of titans: there are these ugly, hyperbolic and weak-willed freaks with hypertrophied body parts. They are opposed by pure titans like Eren. And then there are the Eldians from the ghetto. Also in the anime, militarism is presented as the only answer to any issue that might arise.
Second, the creator of the manga, Hajime Isayama, even admitted that General Dot Pixis was written off from the Japanese commander Akiyama Yoshifuru, who served the Japanese Empire and was considered a hero. He is responsible for the massacres in Korea during the Japanese occupation wars, including the assassination of the Korean Empress Myeongseong. At the same time, he is also responsible for the euphemism "Comfort Women" - this is how thousands of women, who were taken from Korea to Japan for sexual slavery were described. After this, a number of threats from Koreans began to appear on Ishiyama's twitter, who promised to kill him, burn him or beat him to death with a bat. By the way, China simply banned Attack of the Titans in the country. Many believe that Eren's idea of bloody revenge on the entire dirty world reflects the radical thoughts that the author of the story lobbies.
People are Blind
However, both the manga and the anime are coming to an end. What caused such a violent reaction, and the thought that Attack of the Titans is a right-wing radical work with almost fascist overtones? I do not know. For some completely unknown to me reason, no one found a term ‘Mudblood’ in Harry Potter weird and I can make many more examples. But this is not what this review is about, it is about what Attack on Titan truly is and it is mainly a story about a war and how wars change people, which the viewer can clearly see, when following Eren Yeager, as the story progresses. I mean, the change is clear. Remember all the comments and the hate Eren got in the first seasons and now what he is. This is what becomes of people, who see war, who lose their nearest and dearests that will NEVER be returned. And this happens because of some senile man, who claims to have nightmares that the life in your country is not as good as they think and that they want to change it for the best. And you know what is really horrible? It is the understanding that soldiers are powerless and most of the time they are not protecting the sacred place, the homeland, but wage some completely unnecessary wars.
All in all, where was I? I think, the message of Attack on Titan is clear, humans are the most stupid animal there is; there have always been wars and it will stay that way. One thing you are to respect Attack on Titan for, is that in manages to show all the horrors of wars. Do not try to find some pointless messages, it has nothing to do with fascism, it shows that you are to fight against pointless wars, which is the most poisonous sickness humanity is still completely unable to cure.
The story is brilliant. Although it starts from a time skip to the future from season 3, the story is still easy to catch up on and understand and it compensates for the missing parts of the storyline (I would prefer that the missing parts stayed since they are also relevant. But doing this timeskip allowed us to have so many surprises.)
The animation is great! I almost did not notice that the titan transformations were CGI until I looked at it the second time. It doesn't really matter if it's CGI as long as you enjoy the anime and the story itself. Don't listen to hate comments. The animation here might be different compared to the previous seasons, but MAPPA did a great job doing it on their own style!
The sound is just chef's kiss. The opening song and the ending song is stuck in my head these days on replay. Not to mention, the sound effects are on point, the voice acting is as great as it was in last season. The emotions you can have just by listening to the emotional or suspenseful music is amazing!
The characters are portrayed so well. We are given a glimpse, or if not, episodes about the side of the Marleyans. I love how we are still able to have fun even if we didn't know these new characters in previous seasons. I love the dope new designs and the way MAPPA made our favorite boys and girls look amazing! Don't listen to hate posts or comments in the internet. Nothing is bad about MAPPA's animation for this season unless you believe the haters' usual hating shenanigans.
N.B. I’m gonna assume you watched seasons 1-3 so please do that if you don’t want to be spoiled. Onto the review!
Have you ever been perplexed about a question as a kid and then when you asked an adult never got a straight answer? That’s how I feel about AoT S4. The first arc establishes a new setting, new characters, even arguably a new protagonist in Reiner… And then re-introduces our protagonist whose personality has completely changed with no explanation. Am I expected to take this complete transformation and accept it as “development”? Now I’m newly perplexed about the missing pieces that formed Eren that way. This show loves to divert for as long as possible, and then slap on new material when they need to answer questions. If you’re wondering about anything in the show, just expect a new titan mechanic to pop up, because the twists are impossible to predict based on the presented material.
The magnitude of this cast is insane. You cannot tell a story about a fictional military drama with nontrivial politics AND have slice-of-life moments between the corps members AND try to build a strong shounen-esque trio opposing some “villainous” characters… and expect me to care about all of them. The show seems to require motivations for every character… but it becomes so dragged out. The simplistic message of “There’s another side to the story” is established very quickly and repeated ad nauseum. Reiner is the tortured character who has lived on both sides of the war. Gabi's personality and motivations are identical to season 1 Eren…. Just seen from the other side. But Falco is entirely useless. He’s merely another generic “hero” who has nothing to add to the already simplistic message.
I’ve seen a lot of people complain about MAPPA’s adaptation, but personally it made little difference since I never liked the art in the first place. In terms of the animation, sure there was some janky rotoscoping and uncanny CGI, but those were only brief moments that broke immersion for me. The soundtrack was also a slight drop from the previous seasons. I love Sawano, and his specialty seems to be building up instrumental tracks towards an epic moment with a vocal song. But there weren’t any show-stopping tracks like that this season.
Actually I wish this was rotoscoped...
I understand that this series will be concluded in a few months. So while I understand some of my questions may be answered in the Final Part (hopefully) of this Final Season...I can’t say I care.
I really love this final season, although I'm not looking forward to the wait until part 2. I just want to warn everyone that there will be a TON of spoilers everywhere so just avoid anything that involves aot in general.
It definitely is my favorite season, and I could go on for days explaining why this anime is in my top 10 but I want to focus on one aspect of this season : Eren character's development.
I've always loved AOT but one thing - character - that made it difficult for me to truly adore it and consider it my favorite was Eren. He was one of the oh so many male mc that I could not stand. I hated him, but not in the way you love to hate certain characters, not in the way you hate Shogo Makishima or Johan Liebert. I just wanted him to disappear. He was annoying, loud, unimportant, bland, naive, infuriating, ungrateful and so on. However in this season, while I still hate him, I love the way his character is built. I love how interesting he got. I might deeply disagree with his choices and actions but I can understand and empathize with them. It overall improved the quality of the anime, made it much more enjoyable. I'm delighted I finally can say it's one of my favs without clenching my jaw thinking about the main character.
Obviously, there are many other things I could say about this season and overall anime but I think other reviews can do it much better than me. It's a masterpiece and i definitely recommand watching it or reading the manga.