Episode 83 – Attack on Titan The Final Season Part 2

“Looks like my turn has come…Even if I thought I did the right thing. Times change and you end up in a cell.

“Goofy.” Now there’s a word I never thought I would end up using to describe this final season of Attack on Titanat least of all an episode like “Pride”, which begins with Hange tearfully gunning down her old comrades in order to protect a nearly dead Levi in ​​the hours after they barely escaped Floch’s wrath. Yet, here we are, with the first episode of The Final Season that seems more focused on making us laugh than conveying the fear and chaos of Eren’s apocalyptic rumbling. To say that there is some tonal whiplash here is an understatement, and while I certainly didn’t hate the episode, it is easily the shakiest effort that AoT has produced in a long time.

Now, to be clear, it isn’t as if there aren’t parts of this episode that we’re supposed to take seriously. The show definitely isn’t playing Floch’s rise to power for laughs, and it sucks seeing Hange so broken up about how bad things have gotten on Paradis. It’s just that those more serious moments feel more scattered about amidst the other stuff, and the one lengthy dramatic scene we *do* get is a big letdown.

If you’ve been reading my Attack on Titan reviews for any length of time, then you’re probably well aware of how happy I am to spend too much time analyzing every scrap that the show throws our way. So, know that I really mean it when I say that I genuinely don’t understand why the show felt the need to spend so much time on Louise’s deathbed conversation with Mikasa. Louise has barely mattered as a character in this story, and we are unceremoniously informed that she stole Mikasa’s scarf as a trinket to cling to in her final moments, both because she is obsessed with Mikasa, and because Eren apparently told her he wished it would be thrown away in any case

Mikasa doesn’t even bother hearing the dying girl out before walking away with her scarf in hand, so I must ask: What was the point? I thought the missing scarf was going to be a symbol that Mikasa carried (for lack of a better term) for the rest of the story. So are we supposed to lament her lack of empathy? Is the bit about Eren wanting it gone some sort of clue or something? I just don’t know, man.

At least with all of the episode’s goofy stuff, I think I can understand what the show was going for. It is positively absurd when Conny’s face twists into a terrifying parody of a grin when he tries to convince Falco that they’re just stopping by his old village to brush his Titan Mom’s teeth, but Conny freely admits that he’s a complete idiot just minutes later , so it all tracks. I wish “Pride” had tried to play Conny’s dilemma straight, since the confrontation with Gabi and Armin was rife with a dramatic potential, but maybe it’s for the best that we never truly take Conny’s desire to feed Falco to his mom all that seriously. way, both the audience and the characters can chalk Conny’s madness on a bout of wartime panic, and everyone can move on without thinking too hard about the attempted child murder.

The weird turn towards sitcom humor during Annie’s big reunion with the gang is harder to defend, since you could easily accuse Hajime Isayama of getting impatient with all of the ploy setup he had arranged for himself. Maybe in wanting to wrap things up quickly, he opted to distract readers/viewers from the incredible convenience of the gang just randomly running into Annie by throwing some silly jokes and goofy faces around. I’d like to think, however, that the show simply wanted to hearken back to its more lighthearted days one more time, before things get Super Serious (for Real This Time).

The point is, “Pride” is the sort of odd-duck episode that works both in spite of and because of its refusal to take itself too seriously. The near execution of Yelena and Onyakopon doesn’t land nearly as hard as it could because, at this point, all of the episode’s tension and anxiety have been diluted. You never really believe that the episode is going to follow up all of the funny faces and cake jokes with a brutal double murder. It also makes Jean’s reverse-face-turn feel a bit less triumphant, since the plot is just too overstuffed to linger on such an important character moment.

Then again, by the end of the episode, when Annie has reunited with the group and Reiner is being woken up as the crew begins their mission to “save the world”, all that oddball humor genuinely helped to remind us of the camaraderie these characters share, and it makes the moment feel that much more personal. The Marleyans and Eren’s former allies have all made a tenuous peace, at least for now, since it will take every ounce of strength and resolve that they have to resist the Jeagerists and put Eren down. The times have changed so much since those bygone stories from Season 1, when none of the gags and funny faces felt so lost in a sea of ​​despair and nihilism. I don’t know if bringing that old tone back with such force this late in the game was the absolute best decision for Attack on Titan, but I get it. Every one of these people that we’ve come to love is as likely to end up in prison—or worse—as they are to end up heroes. Might as well appreciate the good vibes while they last.

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Attack on Titan The Final Season Part 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitterhis blog, and his podcast.

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