Published on March 1st, 2021
Attack on Titan Season 4 is back this week with another solid episode. Paradise Island is on the brink of Civil War as the first shot of the conflict leads to the first casualty. Eren escapes prison and forms his “Yeagerist” rebellion against the government. All while Marley is watching from a distance. It certainly is enough to get anyone hyped up however there were some issues in the episode’s execution that I find problematic. Although not perfect, it did do a good job of setting up the conflict. This review contains spoilers so read at your own risk.
The Yeagerists Revolution
I’ll just skip right into the main gist of this episode which is the foundation of the “Yeagerists” and the assassination of Premier Zackery. Eren’s allies blow up his office and his body is throwing in front of the protesting crowd outside. What I found most shocking about this scene is not that he died but that the crowd started to shout “Shinzou Wo Sasageyo”. It was disturbing because the battle cry that has represented freedom for 3 Seasons is now redefined to be a chant of violence and terrorism. I had chills as the crowd shouted that phrase like a bunch of drones.
I also find it quite ironic that the same people that overthrew the old regime are now facing a revolution. I wonder what Erwin would have thought about this if he were alive. This situation is the perfect representation of the phrase “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”.
And as the first shot of the war, it conveys its message very clearly. At first, I thought the tensions within the military were something that would be easily handled with once the threat of Marley was imminent but now its clear that there’s no turning back. Killing Zachery hammered home the point to everyone. Blood has been shed and there’s no turning back.
I’m personally very curious to see how this new wild card is going to affect the balance of power in this conflict. The war has become even more interesting now that 3 factions are vying for control over Paradise Island. With friends now pitted against one another, it’s also a great opportunity to create excellent character dynamics. Hopefully, this new struggle will be as interesting as I’ve imagined it.
Stuff that didn’t make sense
One thing that I do have to question is how did Eren and the rest of the Yeagerists able to escape jail? Weren’t they all locked behind bars in the last episode? Also by the way that the scene where Eren meets his allies is shown it appears that Floch and his gang escaped prison first before Eren. How were they able to escape before Eren? I thought they were locked up in the same prison. Did they use the bombing as a cover to getaway? If so, then it would have been far more interesting to actually see them escape than just telling us they did.
Now, I’m perfectly aware that they could show us how they did it in the next episode however given the limited amount of episodes that they have left and all the events that are lined up, I think that it would just take away precious time that would be better invested elsewhere. I would have much preferred if they had actually shown their escape this episode. Maybe they should have cut out some of the dialogue and exposition scenes to make it fit.
Another scene that I have issues with is the next scene in which General Pixis, the Scouts, and the Garrison Regiment were arguing about their response to the rebellion. Although I did find it to be a great scene that highlighted the divisions in the military, one thing that bugged me was why was that woman from Hizuru with them? For people who put whistleblowers in jail, they sure are open to sharing their secrets with foreign agents. Why would a sovereign state, in a time of crisis, allow a representative of a foreign government to listen in on them? Who is to say that this woman won’t just leak these secrets to the outside world. It didn’t necessarily ruin the scene but it did take away the sense of immersion for me.
Slow and Steady
In regards to the overall pacing of this half of the season, although in the past I did praise the slower pace for allowing for great world-building and character development I do feel that at this point it is getting a bit excessive. This is the 4th episode in a row that is very dialogue and
character-driven with very little in the way of action. Maybe it’s because action scenes are much harder to animate or because this is just the natural progression of the story in the manga but I have noticed that there are fewer action sequences than in previous seasons. Although I have personally enjoyed the story so far, I do find myself missing those epic and breathtaking action set pieces that this series is famous for.
I do hope that in the next episodes that the pacing of the story increases so that a bit more excitement can be injected in. I’m especially eager since based on my knowledge of the manga, there are going to be some mind-blowing fight scenes. The reveal of Pieck spying on Paradise Island gets me even more excited. The mere thought of a three-way battle between the Survey Corps, Yaegerists, and Marley just makes me so hyped to see it animated on screen.
Overall, this was a fairly neat episode that did have some flaws and issues that I didn’t like. As I’ve stated before, the biggest strength of this season is its ability to consistently get you to be excited for the next episode which this one definitely does. However, this only works if you’re able to deliver on all the hype that has been built up. With the season finale only a few episodes away, the pressure is now on MAPPA to satisfy the excitement that has been built-up this whole season. Will they succeed or will they choke under pressure? Only time will tell.