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EP. REVIEW: Attack on Titan The Final Season


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DerekL1963
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:06 am Reply with quote
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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…


As has been said before - you very badly need to examine your assumptions, that Attack on Titan maps (even messily) with real world events. Examine what the story is telling us rather than complaining that it fails to match the analogy you want it to be telling.
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ATastySub
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:43 am Reply with quote
DerekL1963 wrote:
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…


As has been said before - you very badly need to examine your assumptions, that Attack on Titan maps (even messily) with real world events. Examine what the story is telling us rather than complaining that it fails to match the analogy you want it to be telling.

Did you miss the (intentionally or otherwise) line? Please examine your assumptions about what the reviewer is saying instead of complaining because it doesn’t match what you’ve decided they are.
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vonPeterhof



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:49 am Reply with quote
mrsticky005 wrote:
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.
Pretty sure that by “[t]he modern Japanese suffering ‘discrimination’ because the atrocities committed during WWII” James didn’t mean the Japanese civilians suffering during WWII but modern Japanese people expressing annoyance at people from countries that had suffered from Imperial Japan’s actions bringing up the questions of war guilt and reparations. While to young people in Japan this may seem like ancient history and a done deal, there are still people alive in those countries who never received any direct compensation for their suffering. Not all Japanese objections come from a place of outright denial of those things ever happening (there’s arguments like “it’s not our fault that your past dictatorial regimes pocketed all the benefits of Japan’s previous attempts at reconciliation, bring it up with your own governments”, as well as bafflement at the insistence of certain victims’ organizations to reject any sort of private compensation offers in lieu of official compensation paid by the Japanese taxpayer), but either way “nobody should be held responsible for the sins of their fathers” is not an argument that exists in a vacuum, and it’s very easy to map it onto modern East Asian political discourse in a way that makes AoT’s position look like bothsidesism (which is not to say that this is the only legitimate interpretation).
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Pipoko



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:40 am Reply with quote
Yeah, it's walking a pretty thin line here, examining it that way.

So, another (different) way to interpret this is that Gabi is also blaming a victim whose mother died and who also suffered in war. So that's also kinda off. Is another victim of war really the one to unload this to when they're also suffering from the same circumstances? This is clearly also about how Kaya's mother died vs how Gabi's friends died.

Gabi's character arc seems to be about accepting that the other side in war is human, so the connotation I think is definitely meant to be looked at in that sense, too (or can also be read that way).

Edit: What this episode basically does is make Gabi confront her perspective about not being like the island devils. It forces her to eat with them and live with them and shows her that they suffer exactly the same as the Eldians on the mainland do.


Last edited by Pipoko on Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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Johan Eriksson 9003



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:38 am Reply with quote
mrsticky005 wrote:

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.


No one is making a "but they deserved it" argument. At most, they are concerned that Isayama is conflating "Don't ignore your past or our anger about it" for "You deserve to suffer for your past", which is a popular false equivalence among war-crime deniers all over the world.
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ShatteredWorld



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:31 am Reply with quote
mrsticky005 wrote:

No one is making a "but they deserved it" argument. At most, they are concerned that Isayama is conflating "Don't ignore your past or our anger about it" for "You deserve to suffer for your past", which is a popular false equivalence among war-crime deniers all over the world.


It's a weird concern to have though, even at this juncture (in comparison to future moments that lay the themes on thicker). Through Kaya's "But my mom wasn't born a hundred years ago", he's not saying that the past isn't important or real. What the Eldian Empire did was cruel and awful and REAL.

He's saying that, while we should learn from the past, there's no need for the son to suffer for the sins of the father. Learn from the past, use it to better your present and built a better future. The alternative is staying in the past but not learning from it, which is what he warns against.
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Nordhmmer



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:47 am Reply with quote
Isayama is painting his- fantasy,alt 1920s-world as morally grey as possible with his war & racism is bad sci-fi tale.

Eldians oppressed & used,and breed into, a slave race to dominate it's bit of the world.

Marleans use & oppress the genetic offspring of that merged raced in their bid to dominate the world.

The rest of the world hates & fears all three races and are prepared to start a world war.

The offspring of the slave race are on the verge of beginning a world war.
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Minos_Kurumada



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:50 am Reply with quote
AoT is pulling a Naruto, as simple as that.

It's changing it's message (or adding if you wish) to "Close the circle of hatred".

So, The people of Ymir do bad stuff in the past that leads to Marley to do bad stuff in the present, that leads to Eren to do bad stuff to them and now leads to a war and so on.

Zeke kills that girl's mother, Eren kills Gabi's friends, Gaby kills Sasha, same pattern.

It's quite in your face and not complicated to see, the difference lies in the quality of the writing.
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James_Beckett
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:38 pm Reply with quote
ShatteredWorld wrote:
mrsticky005 wrote:

No one is making a "but they deserved it" argument. At most, they are concerned that Isayama is conflating "Don't ignore your past or our anger about it" for "You deserve to suffer for your past", which is a popular false equivalence among war-crime deniers all over the world.


It's a weird concern to have though, even at this juncture (in comparison to future moments that lay the themes on thicker). Through Kaya's "But my mom wasn't born a hundred years ago", he's not saying that the past isn't important or real. What the Eldian Empire did was cruel and awful and REAL.

He's saying that, while we should learn from the past, there's no need for the son to suffer for the sins of the father. Learn from the past, use it to better your present and built a better future. The alternative is staying in the past but not learning from it, which is what he warns against.


I definitely get what you're saying, but the important thing to remember is that pretty much every colonial power - The UK, America, Japan, etc - has a very real History of trying to ignore or downplay the severity of their crimes by brushing it off as "that's all in the past. Why should I be 'punished' for what my ancestors did?" Obviously, I'm not saying that *any* civilians of *any* nation deserve to be the victims of war crimes, but it does need to be aknowledged that racist, imperial violence is a different sort of trauma altogether than general warfare, and it remains a tricky path to walk for AoT when it is having the victims of racist colonial violence also be perpetrators of imperial violence, not to mention that all of it is being done under the appropriated iconography of real world cultures that are still working out their culpability in (I'm going to sound like a broken record here) racist imperial violence.

Basically, I can't just ignore that a growing movement of right-wing nationalists all over, including in Japan, try to whitewash history and distance their country's role in crimes that are still raw wounds for peoples all over. I'm not arguing that AoT is for sure trading in that rhetoric - I'd like to think it's just the opposite, in fact - but it remains something to keep in mind.
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Zefram



Joined: 02 Oct 2019
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:52 pm Reply with quote
vonPeterhof wrote:
mrsticky005 wrote:
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.
Pretty sure that by “[t]he modern Japanese suffering ‘discrimination’ because the atrocities committed during WWII” James didn’t mean the Japanese civilians suffering during WWII but modern Japanese people expressing annoyance at people from countries that had suffered from Imperial Japan’s actions bringing up the questions of war guilt and reparations. While to young people in Japan this may seem like ancient history and a done deal, there are still people alive in those countries who never received any direct compensation for their suffering. Not all Japanese objections come from a place of outright denial of those things ever happening (there’s arguments like “it’s not our fault that your past dictatorial regimes pocketed all the benefits of Japan’s previous attempts at reconciliation, bring it up with your own governments”, as well as bafflement at the insistence of certain victims’ organizations to reject any sort of private compensation offers in lieu of official compensation paid by the Japanese taxpayer), but either way “nobody should be held responsible for the sins of their fathers” is not an argument that exists in a vacuum, and it’s very easy to map it onto modern East Asian political discourse in a way that makes AoT’s position look like bothsidesism (which is not to say that this is the only legitimate interpretation).


Well you also have to take an account previous story line which matches this Japanese "discrimination" theory perfectly. King Fritz of Eldian Empire atones for his country's past sins by forcing most Eldians to relocate with him to a isolated island, deletes all their memories and sense of history, at the same time collaborating with Tyburs and Marley to abandon leftover Eldians to rampant discrimination, humiliation and abuse. He also disarms Eldians in Paradis by de-industrializing their economy (100 yr or so backwards from Marley and other countries), by forcing complete disarmament thru his oath - preventing his descendants from any possible defense from Marleyan titan "warriors" and possibly purposely doomed future Eldians to revenge extermination from Marley due to communicating his disarmament pact to Tyburs (how else would they know his threat of Rumbling was hollow).
At the same time due to use and abuse of Eldian titan warriors - Marley grew powerful, imperialistic and conquered other weaker nations while abusing and blaming Eldians for their sins from over 100 years ago. Reminds you of recent history of certain countries ?
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DerekL1963
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:04 pm Reply with quote
ATastySub wrote:
Did you miss the (intentionally or otherwise) line? Please examine your assumptions about what the reviewer is saying instead of complaining because it doesn’t match what you’ve decided they are.


No, I didn't miss the "intentionally or otherwise" comment. Nor did I miss the fact that questioning the mangaka's intention doesn't change the fact that subsequent to that statement the reviewer continued to try and map it onto real events. (And indicated dissatisfaction that it did not neatly do so.)

And in the comment above this, he defends doing so.

James; Nobody is asking you to ignore what happened or is happening in the real world. That's not the issue we're having. The issue is trying to map the events on AoT onto specific historical events - missing the meta forest for the trees and (IMO) diluting your (well intended and quite valuable) larger points.
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vonPeterhof



Joined: 10 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:24 pm Reply with quote
Zefram wrote:
Well you also have to take an account previous story line which matches this Japanese "discrimination" theory perfectly. King Fritz of Eldian Empire atones for his country's past sins by forcing most Eldians to relocate with him to a isolated island, deletes all their memories and sense of history, at the same time collaborating with Tyburs and Marley to abandon leftover Eldians to rampant discrimination, humiliation and abuse. He also disarms Eldians in Paradis by de-industrializing their economy (100 yr or so backwards from Marley and other countries), by forcing complete disarmament thru his oath - preventing his descendants from any possible defense from Marleyan titan "warriors" and possibly purposely doomed future Eldians to revenge extermination from Marley due to communicating his disarmament pact to Tyburs (how else would they know his threat of Rumbling was hollow).
At the same time due to use and abuse of Eldian titan warriors - Marley grew powerful, imperialistic and conquered other weaker nations while abusing and blaming Eldians for their sins from over 100 years ago. Reminds you of recent history of certain countries ?

Yeah that is another obvious parallel to Japanese right wing talking points, and indeed one that fits a narrative of "discrimination" even better. I wasn't really thinking about it in my response to mrsticky005's comment because that comment was a bit more relevant to the questions of civilian suffering in atrocities as discussed by Gabi and Kaya than to the geopolitical and macro strategic stuff in the Hange/Floch parts of the episode. Either way the question of whether or not Japanese civilians deserved their suffering in WWII isn't really the most controversial part of the historical parallels, which was the point of my response.
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Pipoko



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:15 pm Reply with quote
This whole thing becomes even more fun when you point out that the AoT world does actually have a Japan equivalent and they're shown to be greedy resource-grubbers taking advantage of a smaller country on weak legs for their own gain.

Honestly, that's what tells me there probably isn't much actually bad faith going on here, just the not very careful use of imagery.
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Johan Eriksson 9003



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:40 pm Reply with quote
DerekL1963 wrote:
James; Nobody is asking you to ignore what happened or is happening in the real world. That's not the issue we're having. The issue is trying to map the events on AoT onto specific historical events - missing the meta forest for the trees and (IMO) diluting your (well intended and quite valuable) larger points.


James wasn't the one who mapped this story onto specific historical events. Isayama did that by dressing the characters up in extremely recognizable iconography from a specific historical event. Whether you like it or not that makes AoT a story about those historical events just as much as any larger themes it may carry. That is just how art works and James wouldn't be doing his job right if he didn't point out areas where he thinks the author is shooting himself in the foot. This isn't missing the forest for the trees it is criticizing Isayama for obscuring the pretty forest with a massive neon-sign that says "LOOK AT THIS VERY SPECIFIC TREE PLEASE!".

For the record, I absolutely think Isayama is at least partially doing this on purpose. The story as a whole is starting to paint a clearer picture of fascism and the people who want to revive it. It works so much better in my opinion if you read it as a statement on Japanese history and politics rather than a general "war is bad" story. The problem is the aforementioned appropriation of Holocaust-imagery. Japan has a genuinely complicated relationship with fascism but Jewish people do not. Having both of these experiences represented by the same group in the story just hurts the core theme.
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ThatMoonGuy



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:27 pm Reply with quote
I've always found it funny that some arguments about SnK and works about war in general seem to imply that wars can be fought for genuine, non-oppresive reasons. Even well-meaning revolutionary wars fought for the instauration of more democractic systems end up involving fighting against an oppressive system. Sure, not every war will be Japanese Empire wants to eliminate the "sick man of Asia" but there will always be some element used to turn what would otherwise be a decent human being into someone who's capable of efficient violence. That's part of what makes war such a horrific thing.

This is something that SnK tries to grapple with as it works with the whole Eldian Restorationist Movement (aka, the Jeagerists). They do have legitimate reasons to want to fight a war against Marley and the whole world. They've been massacred and used as a scapegoat, lost dear people and are now tired of it. So they go on and attack their enemy and are ready to punch REAL HARD if they need to.

And while I do agree that the parallels with Japan are strong (even if not necessarily intended) I can't help but think about the whole situation with China and the Century of Humiliation. China, a nation that saw itself as the center of the world (the middle kingdom), was destroyed in war by colonial powers in the forms of the UK and later Japan. It was enslaved and robbed, it's people forcibly fed drugs and abused by colonialists. After that, it got a revolution that allowed it to rebuild itself as a country and modernize. The lesson it learnt with all this, however, was not it's not that culture and democracy guarantee the survival of your nation but that sheer, brute force and mercilesness win wars. If you have to torture and kill people, so be it. That's what the british and the japanese did. If you have to trample the cultures of others, so be it. That's what the british and the japanese did. As (keeping up with the jewish analogy) Shylock said, "the villainy you teach me I will execute - and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction".

I do not think that Isayama was thinking about the chinese experience when writing Shingeki no Kyojin, though, but the similarities are at least a little amusing, methinks.
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