Attack on Titan: The Final Season Episode 1 Review
Shingeki no Kyojin Returns for the Final Season – The Other Side of the Ocean
The final season of Attack on Titan is upon us. A new studio is in charge, but its the same old cast with quite a few new additions. I am not sure if there have been many anime series with as much hype surrounding their final season. Attack on Titan: The Final Season certainly takes the cake for me though.
Its now four years since the Survey Corps finally broke free of the walls and reached the ocean. Now off in a distant land we finally see the viciousness of the rest of the world. Attack on Titan pulls no punches in terms of its brutal ultra-violent story telling, and this season feels like it may just up the ante.
World War Titan
Something about the Marleyan-Eldian relationship fascinates me from this episode. The gross authoritarian control the Marley people have over the Eldians is on full blast this episode. We really get up close with the military, and a young group of kids who are candidates for taking over as the Armor Titan. It is great to see where the world is beyond the wall. A whole episode lacking the main crew is an interesting start to the final season. An interesting start that feels worth it if we are beginning to feel sympathy for the Eldians trapped behind the wall. The audience begins resent the villainous Marley nation.
The candidates are an interesting group. These are kids playing war out on the battlefield. We are set upon the final siege of a large fort and can see first hand how the world is handling the titans. There are a few quips about the effectiveness of the titans throughout the episode. The titans are a powerful force, but are not longer the be-all and end-all to war. The Marleyan’s opponents, the Mid-East Union, have developed some potent anti-titan weaponry.
Seeing even the Armor Titan take a beating to the power of the the guns shows how much the future of this world Attack on Titan has brought us is in limbo. The Marleyan’s potentially have access to this growing tech. How will the Survey Corps and Eren handle this when they finally meet. This first episode shows how we are charging right towards an exciting climax, eventually.
The Genocide of the Eldian People
The previous season detailed quite a bit about the world beyond the walls. Those trapped and or protected inside of them are the descendants of a people who waged war upon the world. In the past they sowed chaos among the rest of the nations until they were defeated and forced to flee. At least some of them fled.
This season is starting off strong by really building up sympathy for the Eldians. On the flip side of the coin, we now have a real reason to hate the Marley. We know that their people live in ghettos in the cities, subjected to abuse at the hands of the Marleyans. Now we see the other horrors cast upon them. Eldian soldiers are fodder for the ranks of the Marley army.
Most of the vanguard rank are Eldian soldiers in the Marleyan army. They are right on the front lines of this World War One facsimile. I love that the show takes a moment to show the fear on the face of a number of the soldiers. Some of them have a thousand yard stare which shows how much abuse they have taken at the hands of their oppressors. The Eldians are now fighting this war on other’s behalf.
In a sick turn of events the first episode back shows us one of the most gross abuses of humanity so far. Titans are not just a menace anymore. They are just another tactic as aerial ordnance. Its incredible to see para-titans roll off a conveyor belt, only to quickly explode into a mindless killing machine. I surmise that the Eldians featured in the blimp are criminals, or other undesirables, bound to be sacrificed as titans. The slow vindictive vendetta of the Marley people against the Eldians plays out with all of these horrific war atrocities. We are really setup well to see Eren and the rest of the Survey Corps take on the Marley military.
Final Thoughts for the Final Season
Its been bothering me slightly since the reveal in season three, but why was the name Marley chosen to represent the oppressors? Every time I hear it I can’t help but think they are ruled by an overly friendly yellow lab – a la Marley & Me. It just stands in such stark contrast to how serious Attack on Titan is otherwise. Now Eldian is a great name for a nation of people. It has a gravitas to it. There is an allusion to elders that reinforce their connection to the titans. Elder titans if you will.
I am quite happy with the first episode to come out of Attack on Titan: The Final Season. I had really high hopes for it, and with just the first episode I think the hype is met. The first episode back is brutally action packed, yet still is advancing the plot in meaningful ways through its depiction of the newly finalized antagonists, the Marleyans.