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EP. REVIEW: Attack on Titan The Final Season


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Covnam



Joined: 31 May 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:01 pm Reply with quote
Really odd that that important meeting after the bombing was conducted right in front of a bunch of foreign dignitaries.
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Johan Eriksson 9003



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:47 am Reply with quote
See, this is why I felt that the exclusion of Hange's very short rebuttal towards Floch last week was so annoying. By leaving out the confirmation that the real name of the nation is "The Kingdom of Eldia" it undercuts just how much more aggressive the Jaegerists are in their policy. This isn't just about survival or even about winning the war to them. They are very specifically trying to revive a perceived "lost golden age" when the Eldians and their empire were on the top of the world. This veneration of the past is a core tenant of fascism.

It is also interesting how quickly this movement (and specifically the imperialist policies, judging by the crowd's call for Eren to save "The Eldian Empire") have gained popular support because it confirms that this isn't just a matter of hating Marley. King Fritz may have dismantled the Eldian hold over the world, but he never actually reformed their nation. He just erased their memory of it and then set up a new status quo where everyone is raised to believe that they are literally the only humans in existence. All of the social conditioning and imperialism that comes with living in an empire were still there. My point being that this isn't just a consequence of them being the victims of other fascists, it has been brewing for a long time.

I am reminded of the discourse a few years ago, before we got to the time-skip in the manga, when people were accusing Isayama of peddling fascist propaganda in his survival-horror story. People were noticing all the references to Nazi-Germany and Imperial-Japan (like Erwin's name and Pyxis' design) and the political plotline seemed to oppose governments who refused to go to war. I thought these aesthetic choices were just incidental at first but then Isayama revealed that this was actually a war story and I was suddenly very worried about the direction the story was taking. It was when we got this scene that things suddenly clicked together for me in a whole new way. I think all those references were intentional, but they weren't there to push the idea of noble military men saving humanity by slaughtering monsters and how noble it is to make horrible choices for the greater good, they were placed there as intentional warning-flags about what kind of society we were watching, and what kind of person our main character is. An angry, reactionary young man who is precisely the right type to get radicalized by certain groups.

Two weeks ago, someone mentioned that the story was now deconstructing everything we had been thought to believe from the first few seasons and I can't help but agree. The crowd was quoting one of the most uplifting and heroic lines Erwin ever used, and they were doing it while making a silly salute, supporting imperialist policies and cheering for the violent overthrow of the government.
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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:34 pm Reply with quote
Well, impossible for anyone to watch that episode with the assassination and not think of the May 15th incident, the assassination of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi by a group of young naval officers, who got extremely light sentences because of popular support for their deed. Any Japanese person would think of that first.

For that matter, if you want that take on it, then you can look at the Eldians in Marley not just as the Jews, but also as the Nisei in the USA, with the Warriors partially taking the role of the 442nd. But in either case don't be too quick to assume that the story is allegory, as opposed to just drawing on history.

Now when Space Battleship Yamato literally has Gamelan second class citizens of another race be part of a 442nd Division, that's a clear attempt at allegory. Titan is a little different.
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jr240483



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 12:25 pm Reply with quote
John Thacker wrote:
Well, impossible for anyone to watch that episode with the assassination and not think of the May 15th incident, the assassination of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi by a group of young naval officers, who got extremely light sentences because of popular support for their deed. Any Japanese person would think of that first.

For that matter, if you want that take on it, then you can look at the Eldians in Marley not just as the Jews, but also as the Nisei in the USA, with the Warriors partially taking the role of the 442nd. But in either case don't be too quick to assume that the story is allegory, as opposed to just drawing on history.

Now when Space Battleship Yamato literally has Gamelan second class citizens of another race be part of a 442nd Division, that's a clear attempt at allegory. Titan is a little different.


just be glad that the ep never took place in may 15th!


the outcry from that incident would have been very very signficiant!
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ShatteredWorld



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:54 pm Reply with quote
Mr. Braus' speech about children in the forest, the cycle of hatred and getting children out of that forest is one of the bar none best moments in the series, so I'm glad they adapted it with the weight and sheer understanding that it needed.

I know there are people that are arguing in good faith and still might think Attack on Titan is "fascist propaganda" or what have you, but I cannot believe that anyone who is competent can watch that and come away having witnessed some pro-fascist message. Quite the opposite, actually!
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Generations



Joined: 21 Jul 2016
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:58 pm Reply with quote
I find most storytelling shouldn't be an issue of subtlety (because personally, I find subtlety to go over the heads of most people, even on the best day), but an issue of whether the upfront presentation is done well or if it feels forced. Attack on Titan, for the most part, presents it very well. And this climax of Gabi's continuing issue was performed wonderfully.

It definitely feels like the turning point of Gabi's thought-process, especially with that 'Gabi.exe is not working' face, but definitely not the end -- especially with the guy she was almost destined to end up exactly like now beside her, ready for a 'talk'.

Although I will admit, I could not stop laughing when Eren just showed up in the background. It was like entered a completely different serious scene, no fanfare, no epic entrance, and was just like 'wassup'. Hilarious.

I don't hate Gabi, but I do hate Floch so so much. I get why he sided with the Jaegerists and believes in Eren's crusader, don't get me wrong, but that smug-ass face he made, combined with his decision to -- in a foreign country, with little time to waste -- decide to just 'hey let's bomb some civilians', I just have zero sympathy for this guy.
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John Thacker



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 10:04 pm Reply with quote
What a fantastic episode.
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Everlasting Coconut



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 10:09 pm Reply with quote
Props to Mr. Braus' voice actor. You could really feel the weight of his words and the grief in his voice.
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AksaraKishou



Joined: 16 May 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:33 pm Reply with quote
Friend told me that Sasha's last words might have not been Niku (Meat) but Nicoinstead... well, that puts it in perspective...
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jr240483



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 3:13 am Reply with quote
ShatteredWorld wrote:
Mr. Braus' speech about children in the forest, the cycle of hatred and getting children out of that forest is one of the bar none best moments in the series, so I'm glad they adapted it with the weight and sheer understanding that it needed.

I know there are people that are arguing in good faith and still might think Attack on Titan is "fascist propaganda" or what have you, but I cannot believe that anyone who is competent can watch that and come away having witnessed some pro-fascist message. Quite the opposite, actually!


but you cant blame the other side either! from the first opening theme of the series to the multiple hints of that world, you cant blame certain people for thinking that way! it was definitely touting that line, especially when it comparison between AoT and the abominations that pre WW2 japan and germany committed!

luckily the author haven't crossed that line! otherwise the series would have nosedived ala ken akamatsu's UQ HOLDER, bleach's 1000 yr blood war arc or fairy tail's alverez arc the minute those authors put in their own PERSONAL BIAS towards their work! its the ONE THING a majority of the community hate above all else!
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KaidoYuji8Shinji



Joined: 15 Mar 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:04 am Reply with quote
This has to be one of my favorite episodes of the series. It was just brilliantly done. I was worried about last week, which I found in both storytelling and in animation, to be one of the weakest.
Of note, reviewing ANN staff entries, this is one of the only episodes I’ve seen with a storyboard by someone who had done episodes in every other season, Yuzo SATO.
Well done.
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Covnam



Joined: 31 May 2005
Posts: 2198
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 12:19 am Reply with quote
So were they just draining Zeke 24/7 or what? lol

I get that we're dealing with what are essentially magic powers, so they're not going to follow logic, but it seems really odd that you can put that fluid in alcohol and have it digested and still be effective even over a long period of time (years potentially?). Or was that just an empty threat?

Man this was a great episode. Everything in the restaurant regarding Sasha was so well done.
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Agent355



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 12:58 am Reply with quote
This comment thread is amazing. I mean that sincerely.

I've been incredibly frustrated by Attack on Titan discourse ever since the Marley reveal. Both the insistence that AoT is Right-Wing Propaganda and the insistence that it's the opposite, an anti-fascist story with no problematic elements, are simplistic. Proponents of either interpretation tend to ignore the good-faith arguments and legitimate points on the other side.

This is a story of contradictions; it excoriates racism while connecting it's characters powers to race (only Eldians can turn into titans) and genes (Ackermans are genetically stronger and more physically capable than other Eldians).

It highlights the cruelty of war while insisting on the necessity of fighting.

But this comment thread proves that a meaningful discussion can be had that doesn't ignore or gloss over any aspects of the story or the feelings and trepidations it can evoke based on the reader's point of view.

James_Beckett wrote:
James_Beckett wrote:

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…

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.

THIS!!! The framing of Gabi and Kaya's discussion in the context of right-wing nationalists downplaying their respective nation's past atrocities has bothered me for years. It's very worth noting that the urge to downplay or whitewash history is a worldwide issue, but the context of this sentiment in a Japanese work puts Japanese right wing nationalists in focus.

John Thacker wrote:
Well, impossible for anyone to watch that episode with the assassination and not think of the May 15th incident, the assassination of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi by a group of young naval officers, who got extremely light sentences because of popular support for their deed. Any Japanese person would think of that first.

For that matter, if you want that take on it, then you can look at the Eldians in Marley not just as the Jews, but also as the Nisei in the USA, with the Warriors partially taking the role of the 442nd. But in either case don't be too quick to assume that the story is allegory, as opposed to just drawing on history.

That is a brilliant connection I hadn't thought of before--and while it's not a perfect analogy, members of the same ethnicity fighting on opposite sides of a world war even while innocent civilians on one side are discriminated against and forced to live in concentration camps---it makes a lot more sense to be inspired by Japanese-Americans vs. Japanese than Jews.

Johan Eriksson 9003 wrote:
See, this is why I felt that the exclusion of Hange's very short rebuttal towards Floch last week was so annoying. By leaving out the confirmation that the real name of the nation is "The Kingdom of Eldia" it undercuts just how much more aggressive the Jaegerists are in their policy. This isn't just about survival or even about winning the war to them. They are very specifically trying to revive a perceived "lost golden age" when the Eldians and their empire were on the top of the world. This veneration of the past is a core tenant of fascism.

It is also interesting how quickly this movement (and specifically the imperialist policies, judging by the crowd's call for Eren to save "The Eldian Empire") have gained popular support because it confirms that this isn't just a matter of hating Marley. King Fritz may have dismantled the Eldian hold over the world, but he never actually reformed their nation. He just erased their memory of it and then set up a new status quo where everyone is raised to believe that they are literally the only humans in existence. All of the social conditioning and imperialism that comes with living in an empire were still there. My point being that this isn't just a consequence of them being the victims of other fascists, it has been brewing for a long time.

I am reminded of the discourse a few years ago, before we got to the time-skip in the manga, when people were accusing Isayama of peddling fascist propaganda in his survival-horror story. People were noticing all the references to Nazi-Germany and Imperial-Japan (like Erwin's name and Pyxis' design) and the political plotline seemed to oppose governments who refused to go to war. I thought these aesthetic choices were just incidental at first but then Isayama revealed that this was actually a war story and I was suddenly very worried about the direction the story was taking. It was when we got this scene that things suddenly clicked together for me in a whole new way. I think all those references were intentional, but they weren't there to push the idea of noble military men saving humanity by slaughtering monsters and how noble it is to make horrible choices for the greater good, they were placed there as intentional warning-flags about what kind of society we were watching, and what kind of person our main character is. An angry, reactionary young man who is precisely the right type to get radicalized by certain groups.

Two weeks ago, someone mentioned that the story was now deconstructing everything we had been thought to believe from the first few seasons and I can't help but agree. The crowd was quoting one of the most uplifting and heroic lines Erwin ever used, and they were doing it while making a silly salute, supporting imperialist policies and cheering for the violent overthrow of the government.


These are great points about what the purpose of King Fritz's memory erasure might be--not (only?) to highlight the "dangers" of "unnatural" pacifism, but, perhaps, to highlight the dangers of erasing historical understanding without actually changing societal structure. I like this theory, although I'm not convinced that the "necessity of fighting/war" and the "dangers of pacifism" aren't also intentional themes in Attack on Titan overall.

Doodleboy wrote:
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.


This is brilliant and beautifully written. thank you for sharing this idea, kudos!
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Nordhmmer



Joined: 11 Feb 2017
Posts: 853
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:59 pm Reply with quote
John Thacker wrote:
Well, impossible for anyone to watch that episode with the assassination and not think of the May 15th incident, the assassination of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi by a group of young naval officers, who got extremely light sentences because of popular support for their deed. Any Japanese person would think of that first.


....and why not-and the Japanese people have a long list to choose from- the:
Kibi Clan Rebellion
Prince Hoshikawa Rebellion
Iwai Rebellion
Hayato Rebellion
Jinshin Rebellion
Fujiwara no Hirotsugu Rebellion
Fujiwara no Nakamaro Rebellion
Tengyō no Ran
Hōgen Rebellion
Heiji Rebellion
Shishigatani incident
Jōkyū Rebellion
Shōchō uprising
Kakitsu uprising
Rokugō rebellion
Shimabara Rebellion
Keian Uprising
Shakushain's revolt
Menashi–Kunashir rebellion
Ōshio Heihachirō's rebellion
Shimonoseki Campaign
Tenchūgumi incident
Mito Rebellion
Kinmon incident
Saga Rebellion
Shinpūren Rebellion
Akizuki Rebellion
Hagi Rebellion
Satsuma Rebellion
Takebashi incident
Fukushima Incident
Chichibu incident
March Incident
October Incident
May 15 Incident
Military Academy incident
February 26 Incident
Kyūjō incident
Matsue incident
Mishima Incident
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Nordhmmer



Joined: 11 Feb 2017
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:28 pm Reply with quote
John Thacker wrote:
who got extremely light sentences because of popular support for their deed


A good many those who perpetrated one of the many coup d'états that occurred throughout Japan's history got extremely light sentences.

The perpetrators of March Incident of 1931,the October Incident of 1931,and the Military Academy incident of 1934 also received basically slaps on their wrists.Those light sentences helped encourage the February 26 Incident of 1936.

After after going through four coups between 1931 - 1934 (the March Incident,October Incident.May 15 Incident and the Military Academy incident(as well as the Aizawa Incident of 1935)), many of those perpetrators of the Feb 26 Incident received the death penalty.


Edit: to clarify the Aizawa Incident of 1935 was not a coup d'états...it was a revenge killing.
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