Spoilers will declare war.
I have to say, this is going to be a strange one to write. If you don’t know Attack on Titan, it’s best to start from the first season. I didn’t think to cover the subsequent ones because they gradually expand so much that they’re hard to describe. The fourth and final season brings many surprises, including a change of production studios from Wit to Mappa. Don’t worry, the excitement is still there – as a matter of fact, this is one of those seasons that starts eerily calm in a place we’ve never been and where we’re gradually finding our footing. Once chaos is unleashed, you’ll realize we’re really in the middle of an all out war.
Attack on Titan: The Final Season is chief directed by Jun Shishido, directed by Yūichirō Hayashi, with new scriptwriter Hiroshi Seko. We’re in for a slow burn before unleashing a hell’s worth of twists and turns not rivaling, but exceeding Thrones in its glory days. It’s unhurried in its setup, giving us a look and feel of the world beyond the sea. And yet, we’re going to be thrown into battle and recognize a slew of old names and faces. I’m glad to report the show has not only retained but increased its bite.
The series has always portrayed a rather realistic depiction of war in the face of its fantastic premise. It’s not my intention to explain how its mythos works, but rather stand in awe that it does. The idea of giants with different skill sets, released as weapons of war might sound laughable at first. Then you realize that if you are to accept the mythology and world building of the show, it sounds very feasible that nations would compete to claim such powers to gain the upper hand. It’s almost a nuclear arms race in a feudal age.
And then, there’s the other things that come with war. Blind patriotism, fanaticism, war propaganda, instilling fear and hatred to further your cause, the proselytism and indoctrination of youth, demonizing your enemies into non-human monsters so your compatriots kill them without mercy… It’s all there. And still, you have fan favorites coming back. You have compassion for people, you have kids thrown into war and sometimes idolizing becoming martyrs for the cause. Sometimes, you take a step back and realize despite this being a work of fiction, it is pretty damn believable about showing the human condition in times of strife.
One of the uncommon things about this season is that we’re starting across the sea in the larger, bigger world where the nation of Marley reigns supreme and the Eldians that stayed behind are subjugated as a lower class and used as cannon fodder. The Eldians that went to Paradis Island where the ones that lived inside the walls under the rule of the Fritz Kings which we’ve been following since the first season. Now we get to see the world where Annie, Bertolt, Reiner and Marcel came from.
As for the Survey Corps… Well, you’ll find out soon enough. It’s a slow burn, but the confrontation between forces is about to escalate into war right at Marley’s front door. When our favorites appear, it’s not all clean. They’ve aged, they’re not jubilant, they’re not afraid of getting their hands dirty and their internal dynamics have been tested by battle. Any innocence they had have been lost. Some are more jaded than others, others cling to ever diminishing hope. This is definitely a more mature look into their psyche.
Extremely recommended as the anime to watch right now. That being said, its frank depiction of brutality does exclude the casual viewer. The writing is top notch and even the slow episodes that you could debate about being filler contain certain morsels of information about what’s being going on in the last years since we’ve seen these characters. Definitely something you should keep on your watchlist.
That will do for now.