Welcome back to World War Titan! The time has come to end things. We are finally watching the final season of Attack on Titan, divided up into three parts (and counting). Things our looking pretty grim for our cast of troubled heroes. If you are new to our coverage, this is the part where I explain to you that I’ve never been what you’d call a regular anime watcher, but something about this strange and at times horrifying show, has continued to captivate me. Welcome back readers old and new, as we dig into Attack on Titan season 4, episode 17, “Judgment.”
1. What’s left of Captain Levi
It’s been a while since I last watched Attack on Titan and without a recap, I was dropped right into the deep end. Oh right! Levi got exploded! We begin this season (or half a season? A third? I guess anime is weird sometimes) with Hange Zoe in the rain. They are looking at the shredded remains of Levi, on of their last living friends. And not only that, Zoe is the prisoner of the scariest little fascist dweeb, Floch. This truly might be Hange Zoe’s lowest moment.
Without warning, the sun starts shining giving Zeke the energy he needs to unexplode. Not only that, he’s got abs for days. It’s quite simple really. You see, he tells us that he had a dream of a blind woman reconstructing his body his out of soil. Having a real normal one, our Zeke. The sky in Zeke ‘s dream looks an awful lot like the sky above Ymir when she awoke from her time her as a titan. Are we supposed to believe that his healer her is the ancient Ymir, progenitor of all the titans? Or is Zeke just a freak?
Zeke’s dream talk is interrupted by a splash. Hange Zoe threw theirself into the nearby river, and dragged Levi’s remains along. This is the most optimistic thing to happen all episode. You think Levi’s not as dead as he appears? I sure do.
2. NEW THEME SONG TIME
Rumbling! Rumbling! Yelling rumbling! Rumbling! I was pretty clear about my dislike for the previous Attack on Titan opening and maybe I’ve got no class, but this new one is amazing. It is, in the year of our lord 2022, and Attack on Titan just had to bust out the nu metal!? That’s insane. Audacious. A bold, crazy statement of purpose that goes against all taste and better judgment. I love it.
3. World War Titan
If you remember, last we saw the titans, they were taking a deep breath before beating the shit out of each other. Boy does this episode deliver on that front. We got zeppelins! We got goggles! We got parachutes! The whole 1920-1940 thing they got going on is super visually dynamic. That’s especially true after this show mostly had a late-Medieval aesthetic. Seeing all these scopes and gatling guns is just brutal after the relatively up close and personal combat we’ve seen in the series so far. And no sorry, but I love all the jackets. This is a fantasy look I really dig.
The brutality is also increased because this is the first time we’ve really seen Eren and Reiner go at each other at the height of their powers. The animation has never been more dramatic. Eren’s eyes flash green. Reiner blows steam out his face like a bull about to charge. Their fight is brutal; the most desperately they’ve ever gone at each other. This time, Eren gets the upper hand, using his titan hardening powers to build diamond harpoons to skewer his titan foes. It’s great wrestling booking. Eren has the upper hand until the episode suddenly turns, and Eren is on the ropes…
4. Switch away
There’s a lot to remind the viewer of in this episode, seeing as this is our first one back from a long hiatus. And I did appreciate a reminder. But every so often, we’d cut from the battle to a long conversation about bloodlines and who should eat who, and the episode slows to a crawl. But before too long, we zip back to the battle, and it is electric. Once the Marley soldiers get in place, it’s a slaughter. They mow down Eldians from their airships, and Pieck loads a huge artillery canon onto her back her, which ends up being super effective. She snipes Eren from across the whole map.
Still, there’s a strange tendency for the “camera” to turn away from the action. Pieck throws herself off a wall to transform, and most of Eren’s cool superpowers are unleashed just out of sight. I know animation is hard and expensive, but isn’t this one of the biggest anime hits in a decade? You’d think if they can drag the final season out into three big pieces, they could deliver the goods. If your whole thing is grimdark carnage, you gotta show me the grimdark carnage. Otherwise, you’re kind of an edgelord.
We briefly check in with the rest of our heroes towards the end of the episode. Onyankopon has defected again and let the Scouts out of jail, and Connie is not having it. It’s kind of great seeing him totally lose his cool his after he’s been though so much. He’s ready to beat Onyankopon to death, but Armin steps in with a whole diabolical plan. Which is great, that’s why you keep Armin around.
But we also get reminded that Mikasa has cursed Ackerman blood, which makes her spiritbonded to Eren or whatever. It’s a huge bummer. This has been the closest Attack on Titan gets to ruining the whole story by undermining its characters. Armin throws enough doubt in to drag this conflict out but as an arc for Mikasa, it couldn’t be less interesting.
Will Levi survive his watery fate? Will Eren reunite with his evil brother his? Will Armin’s plan save the day? Join me next week, for another Attack on Titan.