Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season Episode 1 [First Impressions]

Shadow’s Impressions:

ATTACK ON TITAN IS BACK BABY AND AS HYPE AS EVER. I actually did not realize that this came out until someone brought it up and I had to race to go watch it. As a manga reader, I’ll admit, I did not like this part when first reading it, since we literally have no attachments to any of these characters besides Reiner. However, I do think it is important to touch upon what is happening on the other side to see things through a different lens to more understand where the Warrior Trio were coming from when they attacked Paradis Island. And watching the anime may be a little better since reading the manga chapter month to month was really tiresome and it felt like things were moving at a snail’s pace. But with anime, we only have to wait a week for an update, so anime only’s may find this part a bit more tolerable.

We get introduced to A LOT of new characters and I admit, I was itching to ditch them and see the characters we already knew when first reading the manga. But we do get some great background on just how brainwashed the Warrior Trio must have been considering how this new group of characters are. To be quite honest, all of these characters felt like they were some sort of mismash between already existing characters. Falco looking a little like Reiner while exuding some very Armin personality qualities. Gabi looking like a mix between Eren and Sasha, Zofia looking a bit like Annie and Udo exhibiting similar antics to Hanji. At first I thought this was laziness, but upon second look, I feel like it was done to draw a comparison to both sides.

We’re first introduced to Falco who doesn’t seem completely as brainwashed as the others as he still manages to carry a shred of care for others despite what he was taught. And I think it’s interesting to note that he had a “dream” of flying through the air and killing titans, something VERY similar to what Eren experienced in the first episode by waking up to a flurry of “memories.” And as we are already aware of, paths connect people not just to the past, but also the future. So it’s definitely a hint that Falco may be a bit important to the plot of things.

Also I didn’t catch it in the trailer but MY BOY NATSUKI HANAE (voice of Tanjiro from Demon Slayer) is freaking voicing Falco. As he continued talking I was like: …wait. I watch Hanae play games on his youtube channel a lot so I’ve become pretty attuned to his voice so I admit, it was a treat to find he’s now in Attack on Titan.

Gabi seems to act as a foil to Falco as she seems to be his complete opposite. Shes completely hellbent on becoming the next armored titan and seems to think everything she does has to be out of benefit in looking good so that she can be chosen. Dismissing Falco’s act of kindness as a waste of time since he wouldn’t be earning any merits for doing so. Which is just sad considering how these are just kids who were taught that it was a waste of time to help others that are not to your benefit. They only have themselves to think about while also holding onto an extremely naive view that they would be accepted by Marley if they were to become warriors. And even though I already have pre-existing feelings towards Gabi, just revisiting her when we first meet her just makes me even more annoyed because wow she’s super full of herself. She’s constantly comparing herself to the others with how much better she is and just kind of swings her weight around by being the best candidate to inherit the armored titan. Not to mention deeming everyone in Paradis as “devils” while claiming that the Eldians residing in Marley are “good.” Typical brainwashing. Though it does seem like they suffer from racism not just from Marley, but every other country as well.

Aside from the new characters, there was A LOT going on in this first episode. Because of the loss of the Colossal and Female titans, another country sought to attack and take over Marley while it was weakened. We get to experience just straight up trench war with the Eldians essentially used as fodder and how they utilize the Titan shifters in battle. Not gonna lie, even though the quadraped titan freaks me out, the way they made it into a war machine of sorts was genius. But man, you gotta feel for the Eldians as the Marleyans have no qualms with just sending them out to die as suicide bombers and such. And you can just tell just how terrified they all are because they KNOW they’re going to die. They even went as far as to drop sacks of people and turned them into titans to use against the enemy Despite their efforts, it’s just sickening to see the people praise the “Marleyan” army for their courage and strength when it literally was all the Eldians’ doing. But that’s propaganda for you.

It was also interesting to see how difficult it is for titans when up against better technology. Even Reiner and Zeke had difficulties which just showed a vast difference between their fight against those on Paradis Island where they constantly had the upper hand if not for being outsmarted.

Speaking of Reiner, I remember just wanting the guy to kick the bucket already with just how annoyingly tenacious he was and always escaping certain death several times. However, after a rewatch (and seeing what happens in the manga), I feel bad for the dude. Especially when it shows just how much he enjoyed being with the other cadets at the time. Enough to make him start questioning his brainwashing. Even Berthold said back in season 3 that Eren and the others aren’t “devils.” Reiner is such an interesting character and I’m excited to revisit his character back in this early arc of the final season.

While I am sad over the style shift due to the changing of studios, I feel like it really hammers home that this isn’t the same show that we started out with. Everything changed since the Fire Nation attacked finding out about what lies beyond the walls. Not only that, but with what happens later on, I don’t think Wit Studio would have been able to handle and keep up with what goes down so Mappa was probably the best studio to switch to. I’m also sad that all the Titan Shifters are all in CG, I have to hand it to Mappa that they did a pretty great job at mixing the cg titans really well with the 2d. So, no complaints here on that front.

Also wow that opening… so many colorful explosions. While it wasn’t the most impressive opening when you compare it to the past openings, it does pretty dang well to not actually spoil anything. Which is probably for the best for this final season.

This first episode was amazing and I’m impressed with what Mappa has shown us so far. I’m eager to see how they handle the later content but with just how much was going on in this episode, I feel a bit reassured that they can handle it. Which is probably why they were the only studio to willingly take up the challenge to animate this freaking season. I’m really looking forward to how the anime will handle everything, especially since it will probably feel like less of a slog than waiting a month for a chapter to come out. It would feel like such a crime to not cover this final season so I’m definitely down to cover it if no one else will.

Possibility of watching: Guaranteed

Possibility of blogging: Most likely

Shadow

A passionate yet somewhat awkward individual who just wants to talk about anime

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