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EP. REVIEW: Attack on Titan The Final Season


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Key
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:27 pm Reply with quote
Concerning episode 70: so that's spoiler[the girl that Sasha saved back in episode 26, eh?] Damn, the irony would be crushing if either character knew how they were connected.

At least spoiler[Gabi finally ran into someone she couldn't blow through with her brainwashed rhetoric.] In either stories or the real world, I've never liked the logic of holding present-day people accountable for the sins of their ancestors, so I found that conversation to be especially impactful.
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Doodleboy



Joined: 23 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:02 pm Reply with quote
One thing I like about this season of Attack on Titan is how the metaphor of food has shifted.

In season one food was both a symbol of the will to live and how cruel the world is. Titans eat people because people are lower in the food chain, the same way any predator will eat prey. At the same time, that base desire is what drives our characters to live. When Eren is in despair as a child Mikasa forces Eren to eat. Before they begin the operation to rescue Eren, there's a shot of Mikasa and Armin eating.

And that will to live drives our characters to slowly commit atrocities they didn't want to do. Fighting their former friends, committing torture of the Military Police, even Armin eating Bertholdt to survive etc. Both the desire to live and the capacity to commit cruelty are two sides of the same coin.

In the final season though, this metaphor has shifted. Food is not a symbol of the zero-sum game of living anymore, about taking resources to survive. Food is now a means of connection. The festival in the internment zone bringing the Eldian soldiers in contact with different cultures. Sasha befriended Marley POV primarily through food. Breaking bread is both a way of celebrating other cultures and bonding through common humanity.

It's one of the many ways that this season is interrogating the previous season's ideas and critiquing them. The Titans are not the demonic other anymore, they never were, and understanding their humanity and why these attacks happen is necessary. The desire to turn outsiders into an inhuman enemy is what's fuelling these atrocities in the first place.

The war against Titans was never a black and white war, with obviously evil enemies, there was always a human cost, innocent people were always being killed. And maybe seeing the world as a zero-sum game of survival, of expansion through violence, taking resources for security is an incredibly limited way of seeing the world. A lack of imagination that causes all sorts of atrocities to happen.


Last edited by Doodleboy on Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:16 am; edited 2 times in total
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Theozilla



Joined: 27 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:34 pm Reply with quote
Yuvelir wrote:
There's a lot we don't know about this system actually.
It's already weird that there is a time limit at all considering pure titans just seem to be able to live on forever, but following from there:
-We haven't seen or known about any titan holder dying because of the time limit
-We haven't seen or known about a baby being born with titan powers
-Let alone a baby born with titan powers dyting at 13

I guess the normal time limit must be true otherwise Eren would already know it to be false and he has no interest in perpetuating the Fritz&Tybur conspiracy, but I have my reservations about the rest of the information and its source.


Actually yes we have seen Titan shifter dying because of the time limit, we saw it when the fact was first introduced in the narrative.
Specifically Eren Kruger was literally coughing up blood and was on his last legs before he passed on his titan to Grisha because he was literally on the last few days of his term.

Also we saw Rod Reiss's brother, the king in the walls before Historia's sister Frieda became it, deteriorate in health before passing his titan on to Frieda.

And yes Titan shifter powers (if they aren't passed on) are born to random Eldian babies, not the royal family.
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Zeino



Joined: 19 May 2017
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:03 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
If we're looking at this from an allegorical angle, there are all sorts of questions that arise about which nation and culture that Isayama might be creating parallels to, here. Is he still framing the Eldians as historically oppressed victims of genocide and bigotry, like the Jews, Armenians, Indigenous American Natives, and so on? That would make a kind of sense, though you could easily draw the relationship to more the justifiably vilified instigators of war, who for very understandable reasons remain held to some account for the atrocities they committed, as has happened to Germany, America, and yes, Japan. Does Attack on Titan understand how fraught the line it is walking is, when it could (intentionally or otherwise) be read as trying to compare the experience of Japan's post-war reckoning with being the victims of history's most incomprehensible genocide? All I'm saying is that “The modern Japanese suffering ‘discrimination’ because the atrocities committed during WWII is just like what happened to the Jews!” is a really weird argument to make, especially considering the whole situation with Japan and Germany being a part of the Axis and all…


You will get your answer this season, James. You will be most likely disappointed by it after going to such lengths to give Isayama such good faith readings of his work. That is all I can say for now without spoilers. Later though...
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Helix91



Joined: 30 Apr 2017
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:50 pm Reply with quote
Episodes like this really show why AoT is such an interesting work. Everything works so well if you take the story on its own merits. This episode delivers such a clear and powerful rebuttal to the idea of people deserving punishment for what their ancestors did.

At the same time, if you start trying to trace specific real-world parallels (and it invites you to do this by including holocaust armbands, among other things) things get messy real quick.
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Yuvelir



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:02 pm Reply with quote
Subtle like a sledgehammer, but very necessary for someone like Gabi thoroughly consumed by propaganda. She refused to see the reality before her, of the "devils" being just people, so someone had to spell out to her, word by word, letter by letter.

All in all, I consider that while SnK is using WWII as a shorthand for genocide, hatred, propaganda and oppression (it very deeply and quickly settled what Marley as a country is about and what kind of discrimination certain groups in the series are going through), it's not in service of a specific allegory. It's using WWII not to talk about what happened at WWII but about what has happened in world history as a whole, with its wars, conflicts, hatred and horrors.

But to play Ymir's advocate... if we want some allegory for that "sins of my ancestors", both in nazi Germany and WAY before that (through the catholic kingdoms and the Crusades), jews have always been charged with the ancestral sin of being the "deicide people", that present jews deserve persecution because their ancestors killed Jesus.

Quote:
I'll be honest, I was initially confused a bit by this scene, as it I thought it was playing up Louise's lifelong obsession with following in Mikasa's footsteps as something we should already know

If someone didn't say to check ep 6 for Mikasa's "embroidery" I would have been confused as heck.
Fortunately, that episode contains the botched tattoo origin, a refresher on what Eren's base ideology is and Mikasa saving common folks from a capitalistic pig.
I also didn't recognize Kaya at all, until we saw the dilapidated town. Sasha got to be very cool in that one, ironically once again. (and that was one freaky titan, I thought we were witnessing a transformation from normal person to mindless titan)
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Everlasting Coconut



Joined: 22 Jul 2019
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:11 pm Reply with quote
One thing I really love about this final season is how it feels like everything is coming full circle. Just in episode 70 alone we had callbacks to all three previous seasons coming back to bite our characters in the butt: Sannes' warning to Hange back in season 3 has now become a reality and is eating away at Hange; Kaya, the little girl Sasha saved back in season 2, is now making Gabi (i.e., Sasha's killer) question her beliefs; and even the little girl Mikasa saved back in season 1, a tertiary character who most of us probably forgot about a long time ago, is back, and apparently her level of admiration for Mikasa is dangerously close to Mikasa's devotion to Eren.

Attack on Titan keeps delivering even in its more calm and slow-paced episodes and I'm here for it.

Also, Gabi's great and this episode is further proof of that Laughing
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Pipoko



Joined: 13 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:49 pm Reply with quote
I think what helps in interrogating the potentially messy allegories the story is presenting is context.

Kaya and her mother are innocent people, so are the people in Liberio. They really are victims and also people who shouldn't suffer horrible fates because of what happened in the past. So because a nation did something awful in the past, all of the innocent people who didn't do any of that also have to be drawn into it? Should all Italians suffer for what the Romans did thousands of years ago? In that sense Gabi's claims really are absurd.

The issue comes from the fact that the armbands are there and the more recent stuff in history because that still does very much affect people in the present. This type of argument is also a very common deflection of taking responsibility for past actions and Japan and other countries with an imperialist past still haven't truly admitted to crimes that still affect people today.

But adding to this, by condemning Floch's and his group's extremist ideas and Marley's regime, by making the claim that the king removing the memories from the people is wrong and knowing the truth is something that is right and should happen, the story makes it clear that it doesn't support any of the awful extremism and the perspective of excusing past crimes.

All Germans don't deserve to die because of what the leadership of Germany decided to do in WWII.

So the context pretty much tells us how we're supposed to feel in my eyes.

Zeino wrote:

You will get your answer this season, James. You will be most likely disappointed by it after going to such lengths to give Isayama such good faith readings of his work. That is all I can say for now without spoilers. Later though...


I feel like it's the opposite and the final context makes it pretty clear what the story isn't trying to say is worth the good faith reading.

spoiler[ I think making the ultimate root of this entire conflict the concept of power and making the Jewish allegory a victim of another warring tribe in the past ultimately makes this work. "Ymir's people", the Jewish allegory are basically the slaves of King Fritz and while the grand Eldian Empire exists, it's born out of the exploitation of the Jewish allegory. I think that stuff makes the good faith reading worth it. It's still not perfect, but at least it condemns abuse, exploitation of the weak and imperialism and at least aligns with the allegory if not perfectly, at least better.]
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Gem-Bug



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:01 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Kaya's mother died because a bunch of inexperienced kids botched a military maneuver. There is no righteous cause to all of this bloodshed. There is no grand, universal design to justify the killing.


That's the root cause, yes, but specifically Kaya's mother died because Zeke turned the inhabitants of Rakugo Village into titans; the "reconnaissance" Falco is referring to. I'm not sure whether that mission was part of the overall Warrior Unit plan to begin with, or if he went in -because- a bunch of inexperienced kids botched it/hadn't kept in touch.
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tintor2



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:46 pm Reply with quote
It's interesting how Eren changed not only in personality but also about his presence in story. He barely appeared in previous episodes but he has large impact in the recent events to the point the civilians want to free him as they call him a hero. However, Connie and even Mikasa seem to note that he is no longer the same angry but nice kid they met during their childhood. In the previous episode there was a lot of focus when Eren blushed as he accidentally said that he cares about his friends. However, the imprisoned Eren is almost another person when Hange tries to make him talk.
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Johan Eriksson 9003



Joined: 27 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:16 pm Reply with quote
There is a slight change from the manga that annoys me in this episode. In the manga, when Floch is spouting his little manifesto about "The New Eldian Empire" Hange makes a point of correcting him, saying that the name of their nation is "The Kingdom of Eldia". It is a very minor thing, but it does so much to establish just what kind of conflict is brewing on Paradis and who Floch and his flunkies really are. It is also one of the many little things that convince me that Isayama is definitely trying to say something about fascism specifically. He isn't just using it as set-dressing here, he shows a genuine understanding of what it actually is and how it works.
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Yuvelir



Joined: 06 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:31 pm Reply with quote
Johan Eriksson 9003 wrote:
There is a slight change from the manga that annoys me in this episode. In the manga, when Floch is spouting his little manifesto about "The New Eldian Empire" Hange makes a point of correcting him, saying that the name of their nation is "The Kingdom of Eldia". It is a very minor thing, but it does so much to establish just what kind of conflict is brewing on Paradis and who Floch and his flunkies really are. It is also one of the many little things that convince me that Isayama is definitely trying to say something about fascism specifically. He isn't just using it as set-dressing here, he shows a genuine understanding of what it actually is and how it works.

Yeah, that sounds like a VERY important detail to just leave on the cutting floor.
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Theozilla



Joined: 27 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:03 pm Reply with quote
Yuvelir wrote:
Johan Eriksson 9003 wrote:
There is a slight change from the manga that annoys me in this episode. In the manga, when Floch is spouting his little manifesto about "The New Eldian Empire" Hange makes a point of correcting him, saying that the name of their nation is "The Kingdom of Eldia". It is a very minor thing, but it does so much to establish just what kind of conflict is brewing on Paradis and who Floch and his flunkies really are. It is also one of the many little things that convince me that Isayama is definitely trying to say something about fascism specifically. He isn't just using it as set-dressing here, he shows a genuine understanding of what it actually is and how it works.

Yeah, that sounds like a VERY important detail to just leave on the cutting floor.

Yeah, leaving out Hange’s “you mean the Nation of Eldia” correction is an unfortunate cut, even if it was just done for runtime/animation budget/production time/etc.
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Covnam



Joined: 31 May 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:29 pm Reply with quote
Maybe this kind of thing got left on the cutting room floor, but that escape seemed a bit too quick and easy.
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mrsticky005



Joined: 06 Nov 2008
Posts: 98
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:40 am Reply with quote
"Does Attack on Titan understand how fraught the line it is walking is, when it could (intentionally or otherwise) be read as trying to compare the experience of Japan's post-war reckoning with being the victims of history's most incomprehensible genocide? All I'm saying is that “The modern Japanese suffering ‘discrimination’ because the atrocities committed during WWII is just like what happened to the Jews!” is a really weird argument to make, especially considering the whole situation with Japan and Germany being a part of the Axis and all…"


I think this weird argument is all in your head. The only argument I see Attack on Titan making is that war sucks and oppression only breeds more oppression.

The story of Eldians may borrow from different events both real and legendary
but ultimately it's just it's own story and I think everyone would do themselves a huge
favor by remembering that and not making this into a "such and such people suffered more than such and people" pointless arguments.

Yeah, the Holocaust was horrible but so was a lot of stuff. I am lucky enough to not
know the horrors of war. But if I watched my family get pointlessly killed by a bomb
or whatever the last thing I'm going to be thinking about is "but the Jews suffered more."

Yeah Japan was on the axis side. It doesn't change the fact that innocent people who lived in Japan suffered. If you want to make the "but they deserved it" argument
then hey guess what...you're literally Gabi.
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