Another… I was about to say “laid-back” but I wouldn’t particularly describe this episode as such considering there is A LOT of tension between most of the characters. Not only is there tension around Eren for… multiple reasons, but also about the situation at hand with Paradis. Also, not going to lie, but I definitely skimmed past this part in the manga so I don’t even remember ANY of what went on in this episode. In manga form, this was just a lot of text on a page so it’s hard for me to focus on everything since it gets kind of boring… but seeing it in animated form helps to hold my attention better since we get voice acting and movement. So this series definitely is a lot easier for me to take in the information rather than the manga. Though… there definitely was an oopsies made on that note.
It’s kind of amazing to see how much Paradis has advanced in the past four years with the help of the defected Marlyans. Not only have they completed a port for them to attempt a trading with other countries, but also started making a freaking railroad. We were also introduced to the Azumabitos who were on friendly terms with King Fritz centuries ago before the Great Titan War happened. But apparently Mikasa is a descendant of Hizuru, making her a royal heir. Aaaand this is where Wit Studio made an oopsie. Back in episode episode 6 of season 1, they talked about how her mother had an embroidery pattern passed down in her family for generations when it was actually supposed to be the Azumabito tattoo. In the manga, it showed her mom giving Mikasa the tattoo (or at least having just finished and had it wrapped). So the detail WAS originally there in the manga, Wit Studio just didn’t add the correct detail most likely due to not wanting to show a child getting a tattoo due to the stigmas surrounding them. So… OOPS.
But sheesh… I’m not a fan of the fact that Mikasa is not only an Ackerman, but ALSO royal blood. It feels a bit much and it doesn’t feel like it really added much to her as a character. It more or less just felt like an excuse for the Azumabitos to initiate trade with Paradis. Especially since it felt like the detail was just kind of swept aside when they just announced how she was their nation’s lost heir. Well that little emotional reunion didn’t last long. But maybe that was the point since it became very evident that Azumabito really just wanted to be Paradis’ only trade partner so they could get a hold of their resources (the Iceburst Stones) and become a powerful country again. Though I will admit that it was very cute of Mikasa and Historia to bond over the fact that they were both missing heirs.
The thing that is probably making people a bit nervous (both in universe and out) is how much of an influence Zeke is right now. Too many of his plans are being carried out and the fact that most of the Marleyans that are helping Paradis are Zeke supporters. And while he has reassured them that his plans are to help Eldians, it does seem like it could also cause a regression in regards to how Paradis runs. Especially since it seems like they wanted to do the exact same thing that King Reiss did by making as many royal blood babies as possible and use them to pass down Titans to. Which was something that could have happened to Historia before if she had chosen to go with Ymir to Marley back in season 2. It’s pretty obvious that this is not what everyone wants, especially since they would be tying Historia’s hands once again and forcing her into a role she never wanted.
Speaking of which, Historia does end up pregnant in present day. And while I don’t remember hardly anything that went on during this episode from the manga, Historia being pregnant was the only information I retained from that skim through lol. The whole thing feels so depressing considering this was mostly done out of necessity rather than wanting to build a family with the guy she chose. Not to mention that essentially she’d be forced to watch that child die within 13 years of them acquiring a titan. The whole thing is just sad… But aot has been sad since the beginning so I suppose this is nothing new.
So lets just address the elephant in the room: Eren having abs and towering over Hanji. I’m joking
mostly but in all seriousness I think the saddest thing was seeing the contrast to what Eren was just a few years ago as opposed to him now. He still had a bit of hope and soft care in him, but probably just seeing how terrible the situation was around them caused that hope to be snuffed out. Especially during the flashback where it showed him showing how much he genuinely cared about his friends. So much that he didn’t want any of them to inherit his titan when his time was up. But now, while I have no doubt he still cares for them, he’s more cold towards them as if wanting to keep them at bay. However, in turn, it’s causing his friends to start questioning just how much anyone or anything means to Eren anymore.
It’s completely understandable why Connie just got so mad over Eren “laughing” after hearing Sasha had died. While we all know that Eren laughs out of hysteria as a coping mechanism, it was still very inappropriate especially in front of Connie who was probably the closest to Sasha out of all of them. The most frustrating thing about Mikasa to me is just how devoted and loyal she is to Eren. Yes, devotion and loyalty is important, but when that makes you overlook what wrongs someone has committed isn’t good. Like, I understand WHY Mikasa is so devoted to Eren, but it just feels like too much most of the time. Though I do appreciate that she admits that Eren has done some pretty messed up things like with what happened back in Marley. So, she isn’t blind (thankfully), but it feels like she’s willing to sidestep on a few things. And it just frustrated me to see her immediately jump to Eren’s defense as if she knows what he is thinking and how he feels. But at this point, I feel like NO ONE can truly understand what Eren thinks or feels anymore. The sunset they were riding into almost felt like a close to who Eren was initially.
Back in the prison where they’re holding Eren, the exchange between Eren and Hanji was… uncomfortable. I did not appreciate him just grabbing Hanji by the collar and threatened to initiate a transformation right then and there. And while I know he was also pleading to her to find another solution and I understand the guy has a lot on his shoulders and he’s trying his best to protect Paradis from basically the world at this point, but don’t get aggressive with people who are supposedly your friend. Yes, Hanji was being Hanji and talking in circles with him, but you could tell that she is trying her best to understand where Eren is coming from in her own way, but she just simply can’t. No one knows what Eren must be going through at this time with his limited life time and being in possession of now three different titans and knowing so many different things from the memories he got. It’s no wonder that Eren’s initial optimism has just upped and disappeared.
And despite her brushing it off jokingly, she was terribly shaken by the entire ordeal. I felt so bad for her especially since Hanji is one of my favorite characters from this series. She was always shown to have such a positive outlook while retaining a realistic approach and seeing her both terrified and downtrodden over how Erwin shouldn’t have made her commander was so disheartening. She’s trying her best in her own position, but it seems like everything is just spiraling out of her control. And I feel for her. Though it’s probably the same for everyone in this series right now. They’re all trying their best in their positions, but there is only so much they can do. Which leads us into what Eren probably is thinking. And while I think it is important for the others to try and communicate to Eren in what he’s planning on doing, but I feel like it’s not going to change anything at this point.
And just to add the cherry on top of the depression cake, there seems to be a bit of scheming going on in the background with Nicolo acting a tad sus with how he presented the wine to the servant. I’m sure there are a bunch of things starting to shift in a bad way and it could only further Eren’s already negative outlook. Everything just feels so depressing that I appreciate the moments of levity this episode presented, even if there was just a layer of melancholy hanging over them since a lot of them were in a flashback. Such as when Connie and Sasha just had this hilarious moment of calling each other dumb without realizing they were dumb themselves. And also the fact that Levi is the shortest among the main cast now cracks me up. Especially when he looked extremely salty over the fact at how much everyone has grown lol.
But yeah… this episode was depressing as all heck. Not to mention it was just littered with so much information and build-up. Stuff about to go down again in the upcoming episodes. Especially now that we only have 6 more episodes left in this final season. Though I am curious as to how they plan on wrapping this series up. Will we get a part 2 or will they resort to just adapting the rest into movies, which I really hope they don’t do.