After an unforeseen delay, Attack on Titan returns this week with what is arguably one of the best episodes of the season and easily one of my personal favorites. It revolves around the encounter between Eren, Armin, and Mikasa at the restaurant and Levi and Zeke’s battle in the forest. This episode combines great action, terrific performances, and powerful emotional moments to create a truly excellent entry into this season. We’re already on the homestretch of this season yet this show is still able to surprise me with the quality that it is able to provide on a weekly basis that seems to get better and better each time. This review will contain spoilers so be warned.
The End of Friendship
To start off, the table scene was such an incredible gut punch to anyone who has been a fan of this series. For more than 7 years, we’ve been following these characters and their friendship. We’ve seen them grow, struggle, suffer, and mature together forming a strong bond of friendship and camaraderie that has lasted through all of the challenges these past 3 seasons. To see this bond finally break and these best of friends become enemies is truly heartbreaking. The saddest part of this was when Eren told Mikasa that he hated her. This girl has shown him nothing but love and affection since they were children. For him to say such things to her really hurts and you can feel the pain that she felt.
Easily the part that I found most impactful in this scene was the “fight” between Armin and Eren. To even call this a “fight” would be a stretch since Eren completely beat the crap out of Armin. I was genuinely shocked by the sheer brutality of it. Thanks to how the scene was shot and animated you could feel the force of each blow on Armin. It felt even more brutal as Armin had no chance in this “fight” and had totally beaten up like it was nothing by Eren. Finally, this scene was just so hard to watch since these are two people that we have seen as the best of friends since the beginning of this whole series. To see them attack each other in such a brutal fashion was both genuinely disturbing and saddening.
One part of this episode that I thought was just absolutely fantastic would be the voice acting. Attack on Titan usually has amazing voice acting among all the cast but this one easily a cut above the rest. I must give praise to Eren, Mikasa, and Armin’s VAs for giving such an emotional performance in this scene. You could feel the pain and sorrow in Mikasa’s “yamete”, the anger when Eren and Armin exchange blows, and the general sense of sadness in all of their voices. Overall, these VAs absolutely nailed their performances and were able to deliver on one of the most hard-hitting and emotional scenes in a series that is full of them.
Levi vs Zeke Round 3
The next excellent scene would be Levi’s “fight” with Zeke in the forest when he turns all of Levi’s men into Titans as he attempts to escape. After multiple episodes with no action, it’s a relief that we finally get to see some here and it does not disappoint. I say “fight” very loosely here since Levi totally kicked the s#@% out of him with just a couple of thunder spears like it was nothing. He almost seemed bored doing this like it was too easy. Personally, I will never get tired of seeing Levi turn into a human Beyblade and completely demolish the enemy while an awesome soundtrack plays in the background. There’s a reason why he is a fan favorite and this is it.
The scene was also quite emotional. Levi had to kill his own men who had turned into titans and you could see the hesitation and sadness he had at fighting them. This is a man who has had it rough for his entire life with nearly everyone he has ever cared for either dying or betraying him and his whole worldview being challenged as shown in previous episodes. This latest incident has just added more salt to his wounds and makes me feel even more sorry for him. I also feel freaking pissed and angry at Zeke for doing something so dirty and underhanded to Levi. Although, this made it feel so satisfying when Levi came back and absolutely demolished that SOB.
However, I won’t pretend this scene is perfect and its biggest flaw would be the CGI they used especially on the Beast Titan. It looked really weird and its flaws were much more noticeable unlike the previous fight scenes since the scene took place in the day instead of at night. Thankfully, these CGI flaws are not enough to detract from how awesome this scene. One more thing that I absolutely loved was using Kenny’s theme from season 3. Attack on Titan has never failed when it comes to the soundtrack and this is no exception.
Floch: The new bad guy
The last scene, while not as incredible as the first two, is still pretty good. It depicts Floch and the Jeagerists taking control of the recruits. Now, Floch gained my interest in the previous episode but now he kinda feels like a main character. He certainly has an intimidating screen presence during this scene especially when he ordered the recruits to beat up their commander. It was also kind of disturbing since Floch’s speech to the recruits sounded almost a bit fascist since he talking about fighting “foreigners” and using Shinzou no Sasageyo almost like a Nazi hail. Overall, I just love the dark route they’ve taken Floch as Eren’s right-hand man since it has turned a generic side character into a very interesting antagonist.
To conclude, this episode was Attack on Titan at its finest. It combined both excellent action and hard-hitting drama to create a masterpiece in storytelling that is rare in most anime. As the season and series near its end, episodes like these are a reminder of how special this show is, how sad it will be when it finally ends, and why we are so fortunate to have watched it. Sure, there will be tons of great anime in the future but there will probably never be something like Attack on Titan again.