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After Seven Years, Attack on Titan’s Final Season Debuts

Attack on Titan Excels in all categories that lead to a great Anime.
lllustration: Mazie Neill • The Sentry

More than just Blood and Gore

Anime became a staple in today’s modern age of television across the globe. From fan favorites like Death Note, Naruto, and My Hero Academia, anime is an exceptional global phenomenon due to its point of storytelling, character development, and animation as the years go on. Throughout the series, Attack on Titan (AoT) fans observed the masterful satisfaction of all three of these categories. 

Take the opening scene for one. A hundred years ago, humanity was on the brink of extinction when giant man-eating creatures, known as Titans, suddenly appeared in the world. In order to keep safety, three walls were constructed: Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina. In the Shiganshina District, near the south of Wall Maria, the protagonist of the show, Eren Jaeger (voiced by Yûki Kaji), resides along with his friends Mikasa Ackerman (voiced by Yui Ishikawa) and Armin Arlelt (voiced by Marina Inoue).

Eren dreams of joining the Scout Regiment, an organization that travels outside of the walls, seeking the truth about the Titans and to find out where they come from. He wants to see the world for himself instead of being told what he is to believe about the world beyond the wall. In the year 845, the dream almost becomes reality when a Colossal and Armored Titan breaks down the gate and invades his home of the Shiganshina District. Countless casualties of civilians are shown on and off-screen. Eren suddenly witnesses the slaughter of his family as he and his friends escape the massacre. Wall Maria is soon breached and the survivors flee behind Wall Rose. Eren then vows revenge against the Titans, with angst and tears in his eyes, he says: “I’ll exterminate them. From this world…not sparing a single one.”

This stellar opening alone passes typical expectations in animes. It gives audiences a taste of the gruesome, dark, and eerie era that is about to be entered. The foundation of the plot is set which keeps viewers at the edge of their seats from the many intriguing and shocking scenes. In just this opening, viewers learn about the characters; what traits, goals, and perspectives they offer. They easily become relatable to connect to as a watcher. 

Season one of AoT, follows Eren, Mikasa, and Armin after the events mentioned before as they all agree to enter training to become members of the Scout Regiment. What’s nice about season one—and the total of AoT for that matter—is that while Eren might be the main protagonist, he is not the focus of the show. Season one dives deep into the backstories of many characters, including Mikasa and Armin. When they begin training, they are befriended by other victims of the terror of Titans. These side characters, however, bring a specific purpose to the plot in that they are much more than just side characters. The trio and their friends all end up being soldiers, but as viewers get to know them, a deeper question arises: at what cost?

Season two, while half as long as the first, continues to showcase the carnage of Titans. However, instead of answers to the story, there are in fact more questions being brought on a platter to viewers as the storylines of characters become intertwined and connected. Big reveals and plot twists, a sudden Beast Titan, and among the chaos, the Colossal and Armored Titan are found to be much closer than expected to the protagonists. The phrase, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” becomes a major factor, especially towards the end of the season.

Season three takes a step away (for the first half) from humans versus Titans. Instead, there are more humans versus humans as AoT takes a political turn and even more questions face to protagonists. While some critics of AoT feel that the story becomes too confusing or uninteresting from the addition of politics and less action being shown,  it is not a grounded criticism. AoT’s plot does grow more confusing, but it grounds the rest of the season. The political aspects do add some spice to things as a coup d’etat takes place after it is discovered that a mysterious someone has been governing the citizens from the shadows, as well as the slow reveal of truth about Titans.

The second half of season three is all the buildup from the previous seasons coming to a climax and resolution as it is the final battle between Titans and the Scouts. In this second half, the plan to reclaim Wall Maria is in full effect. Eren and his comrades must battle it out against the likes of the Beast, Colossal, and Armored Titans to finally unlock the mystery that has been plaguing the show since the very beginning.

Attack on Titan: The Final Season debuted in the middle of December 2020, and so far, has met expectations. To reserve spoilers, the fourth season takes place four years after the final battle in season three. The enemy is finally revealed. The world has opened; it’s a lot larger than that of the walls as a new war begin. Charactwrs begin to reach the end of their arcs as roles are reversed and a new question is suddenly brought up: Who is the real enemy? A new episode of AoT is aired every Sunday on Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

The story isn’t the only reason why AoT should be given a shot. The animation is a masterpiece with stellar 2D design against 3D backshots, especially in the action scenes when the Scouts fly with their gear through the air. The fight sequences are coordinated and executed with amazing techniques; nothing seems choppy or out of focus. Along with these sequences the soundtrack gives energy to the scene. The music is uplifting, empowering, and also emotional in the perfect moments, connecting on a different level with the audience.

The art style of the show builds the jumping off point for the  tone and world-building inside the show. AoT is dark and everyone is important, which is why no one is also safe from getting killed. This is one of the most standout features of the world of AoT. The creators are not afraid to kill off fan favorite characters because it is key to the plot. The dark tone plays a huge factor because not everything that is shown is felt in the same way. When humans battle Titans, they may win, but the amount of casualties doubles, even triples, those who survive. The big question that the soldiers ask themselves, whether as a survivor or on the brink of death: Were the lives traded to get to this point worth it? Honestly, who knows?

Attack on Titan is full of twists,  turns, and big reveals. It may seem simple at first, but the plot is satisfactorily much more complex and complicated. The questions may outnumber the answers at first, but that is the joy of a well-crafted show. AoT is grounded and deals with more real life situations than just fighting for survival against giant monsters. Considering that it has been running for more than seven years and on it’s fourth and final season, it must mean the creators did and continue  to do something right.

This is a selection from the Feb. 10 issue. To view the full issue, visit: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/570586/

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