Animation
Characterization
Plot
Summary
This week's episode wasn't quite the out of the park hit like last week, but it did its job well regardless. Characterization was good and much-needed setup occurred. We even got an ultra emotional cliffhanger mid-credits that really sets the tone for the next cour.
82 %
Solid Build

The next chapter of ATTACK ON TITAN is closer than ever this week. The world of ATTACK ON TITAN is different. There is a sort of hope that comes from within each person. Rather than a strained acceptance of fate, people are pushing. Thinking is forward rather than present-minded.

Even the Scouts, who have experienced some of the worst possible traumas over just four months, are jovially eating together. But all of this sets up a new arc of character development that will certainly include more pain and more struggle. The difference now is a perceptive shift; instead of seeing ATTACK ON TITAN characters struggle to not lose, it seems we’re about to see them deal with the costs of winning.

What made this episode good was its focus on finding truth and emphasizing these changes. They are super important ones, and thus incredibly essential to point out. While the thematic points of the episode were good, however, plot movement was somewhat scarce. Even then though, the scenes and events we did see were well done even if overdone. Examples of this include several minute scenes like the fight between Eren and Jean. While I would have preferred it be a tad shorter, it was animated quite well despite its length.

Plus, given the place of the story as it stands, this episode made sense. There needed to be some resolution and buildup prior to a fight. Certain facts and framing elements, like Levi holding the Titan serum or Erwin choosing to accompany his soldiers, were important. In that regard, the episode did its job even though that job wasn’t a 10/10 one.

New Discoveries

With new discoveries comes some degree of truth, and being the one to find that truth is incredibly impactful. One of the more interesting characters in ATTACK ON TITAN these past few episodes has been Erwin. He wants to, quite selfishly, be the one to learn the truth of the world. Even people like Mikasa, Eren, and Armin have some desires like this. But now that the Scouts aren’t being eaten/crushed/shot every 5 seconds, there’s some time to be selfish. If anything, this gives us a great look at ideology. I for one always enjoyed Erwin as a sort of erratically calm genius character. Seeing him struggle to reconcile his personal wants with those of his squad is interesting. Seeing him do something as reckless as travel beyond the walls with one arm is even more so.

Levi and Hange in ATTACK ON TITAN
Truth is now the objective | Image: Crunchyroll

Plus, we finally have ATTACK ON TITAN’s basement. The Scouts are doing research on the fluid, and the immediate use of it is unclear. Yet knowing that other societies in the world have better technology than they do is important. It means that fights to come will likely force the Scouts to adapt. In the same way that beating the Military Police’s guns took tons of adaptation, so will fighting the world. Reiner, Bertholdt, and the strange man in the Beast Titan had to come from somewhere, and it seems that place is a bit further along than the civilization of the walls.

Fresh Outlook

This was the biggest change and by far the most well done. When evaluating an ATTACK ON TITAN episode’s merit, one subjective measure I use is how meaningfully the anime uses movement and sound. This is because manga panels are obviously static. So, a good anime will make use of its “natural advantage” to intensify scenes when needed. Last week did this incredibly with the use of facial expression and music. This week, it was voices that did the job. Hearing the Scouts joking around in the mess hall really communicated the scene. Plus, the fighting itself was strangely well animated for how childish the battle was. On some level, even fights over who deserves to have died more are important.

The Scouts prepped for departure to retake Wall Maria in ATTACK ON TITAN
The truest Squad | Image: Crunchyroll

Even more, the citizens are looking forward to the Scouts’ return. Return means the recovery of massive amounts of territory. It means arable farmland and less dense housing. It means families can return to their homes. Overall, it means that society can plan for the future instead of fearing devastation in the present. The Scouts spent a month of their food money to buy meat. This only seems right if they assume more meat is coming later. The citizens are the same way and seeing the interactions with them and the Scouts was incredible.

Fight for the Walls in ATTACK ON TITAN!

A battle is coming, and it will likely be the most intense one yet. From the episode’s final scenes, we know that at least Reiner and Bertholdt are the enemies here. There wasn’t any sign of the strange blonde man. But, we also know that the Scouts have some trick up their sleeve. They’ve been mentioning some new weapon recently — we might finally get to see it.

Important to note is the mid-credits scene for this episode. Something painful is coming, and it’s enough to make Mikasa want to kill Levi. We’ve no clue what it is, and we’ll be wondering for a while. This week’s episode is the last episode of the first half of season three. The next cour of this season will not premiere until April, so we’re sure to see something amazing after giving the production team a break.

Featured image from Crunchyroll.

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