The Beginning of the End

Dedicated Attack on Titan fan reviews first episode of long awaited part two of season four

Much like the inevitable falling of the borders of Paradis, the time has come. Old and new fans come together in excitement for the  ending of one of the all time most popular anime to air in America.

The second part of Attack on Titan’s final season has aired. On the 8th of January, the 76th episode, “Judgement,” aired. 

As a dedicated AOT fan myself, I’ve been waiting for this episode for months.. Although I may be new to the anime world, only finishing the first part of the final season in April of 2021, I am still a big fan of this franchise and simply could not wait to watch. 

 Mappa, the studio producing both Jujutsu Kiasan and Yuri on Ice, is the animator for this final season. So far, in these other shows and AOT, they have done a stellar job, both with character design and action animation.

Not to mention, the openings Mappa has produced have been some of the best. For example, the Jujutsu Kaisen opening and the first opening of this season was out of this world. 

First off, this opening was stunning animation wise, but the music was not my favorite. It didn’t exactly scratch an itch in my brain like “Shinzou Wo Sasageyo” from the 2nd opening of season two, or “My War” from the 1st opening of season four. 

Even by the end of the opening, I was not fond of the song choice and believe it could have been better.

The animation and concept is a whole other boat. The opening brought back intense nostalgia from previous seasons, having flashbacks of characters that have previously been killed off, such as Sasha Blouse and Berthdolt Hoover, and reflecting and paralleling scenes that began the show. 

There was not a single scene in this opening that I disliked. Each panel was extremely aesthetically pleasing and brought back intense emotions. With every scene, I was reminded of the tragedy that had happened previously, preparing me for the heartbreak that has yet to come.

The teaser of the first episode was extraordinary. Even though it had taken me a second to remember what was happening, I enjoyed it. For those who know, the Zeke scene had simply taken me by surprise. I was not expecting to see what I saw at 6:47pm on a Wednesday night. 

Now, the true meat of the episode begins with one of my favorite storylines–character development! 

I have always been a fan of the warriors, and seeing them interact has been my absolute favorite part of season four so far. Throughout this episode, you see lots of character development between the warriors. 

You see heart to hearts between characters, and the devastation the older brother, Colt, of Falco feels when given the news about his only sibling being detained due to drinking Zeke’s spinal fluid. 

As a warrior enthusiast, this is the content I enjoy seeing, and I am extremely happy how the voice actors, animators, and writers presented it. Each voice actor, especially Masaya Matsukaze–the voice actor for Colt–did an extremely effective job in portraying these complex emotions each character felt. 

There are only so many words I can use to describe the utter beauty of the battle scene between Reiner and Eren. The animation is stunning, I could not have asked for a better job done. The use of slow motion was very well placed and really added more depth to this battle scene that could have easily been boring and not worthwhile. 

Connie’s breakdown was my favorite scene of this whole episode. There was something about the pure emotion in his voice that got to me. After thinking about all he has gone through, despite being a comedic relief character, his anger is more than justified. I really enjoyed his own little character arc in this episode and the impact his words had on the characters with him.

Then lastly, the development of the bond between Armin, Mikasa, and Eren. Of course, this bond has been there since episode one, but seeing it in full force once again is nice. You see how despite everything Eren has planned and everything messed up he has done, Mikasa and Armin are still there to defend him. 

Overall, I have greatly enjoyed this first episode. Sadly, it feels like the beginning of the end, but I am glad that this franchize is ending with a boom. Everything that has been produced and shown in this one episode alone sets the stage for the reason of the season, and I think it is going to be great.