Episode 86 – Attack on Titan Season Finale Part 2

“I’ve been looking for a good time to die.”

“Retrospective” is one of those attack on titan episodes that grapple with the same fundamental paradox that has hampered so many of the war stories that preceded it: Is it possible to do justice to the horror and tragedy of war if you’re also giving yourself over to the bloody spectacle of it all? It’s not the first time AOT has walked the line between somber parable and bombastic entertainment, but this might be the most blatant example of the show fighting to have its cake and eat it too. For weeks we’ve been watching the human survivors on Paradis come to grips with their own guilt and culpability, and “Traitor” went so far as to spend a full half hour building up the terrifying cliffhanger that Armin and the others felt was getting safer than ever. they would have to betray and kill their former friends to save the world.

At the same time, attack on titan is the anime where soldiers slide on rocket-powered grappling hooks so they can wield dual swords and slash giant monsters no matter what sometimes become those monsters to spark some really rough giant fights. Sure, right now, tensions are high and the line between friend and foe has become hopelessly blurred, but no matter how horrible and twisted things get on the battlefield, there’s still that old reptilian corner of our brain that is ‘I’m not ashamed to howl and holler in approval when our heroes make a good kill.

It’s how Jean reminds himself as the carnage begins to explode around him: if they stop to hesitate for a second, Eren and his Colossal Titans will ruin the world. It’s one of those points where the adrenaline of combat is allowed to take over the most sane and reasonable parts of the human brain, allowing you to get a little excited about the incredible shit these soldiers can pull off. in times of extreme danger. MAPProduction on has been understandably shaky recently, but they brought out the big guns for this one. It’s always been doubtful whether it’s ethical to revel in all the bloodshed without letting go of anime’s stridently anti-war outlook all these years, and that’s unlikely to change as long as we have stories about war that strive to entertain their audience. . while imparting some sort of moral lesson.

If nothing else, “Retrospective” features some of the bloodiest and most impressively choreographed action ever the last season has ever delivered, and each character has a moment to shine. Conny can wreak so much havoc alone that she reminds you why she graduated from the top trainees to begin with, and Hange joins the fray as well. Mikasa’s spectacular scene is so gory that she’s almost funny and she feels tailor-made to serve as the climax for countless fist-raising hard-rockers. AMV that the fandom will be pumping for years to come. Falco has an amazing turn as the new Jaw Titan (which I’ve affectionately nicknamed “Chicken Boo”), but our girl Gabi steals the show with another one-in-a-million scopeless one that shoots Floch right out of the bloody sky. I doubt the bastard is dead, but I’ll feel then vindicated if Gabi was the one who finally squashed that bug for good.

“Retrospective” is also not a meaningless show. attack on titan is elegant enough to remember that all these murders and killings are not really a well thing, and we get some very powerful character beats to send that message home. Shadis and Magath’s final battle is the highlight of the episode, and it makes perfect sense that these two old dogs would first meet in the final moments of their lives. This kind of heroic sacrifice is par for the course when it comes to war stories like AOT, but the last words of the old ones drive home the themes that the show has been working so hard to cultivate. The suffering and exploitation of children has been at the forefront of attack on titan‘s concerns since Episode 1, and Magath takes one last chance to express her regret not only for her own bigotry, but for how she led innocent children to fight the same hateful wars on behalf of their nation.

Annie mirrors the same sentiment that Shadis and Magath have, just before they blow up the Jeagerista compound. There has been so much suffering, so much loss, so much needless destruction, and the only way to make it worth it would be to make sure that they find a way to stop the war. forever. According to Hange, Liberio and Marley are doomed no matter what they do, and though Annie almost gives up in her pain, she understands that fighting for the future is the only option left to them. It’s what Magath and Shadis died for. In all likelihood, it’s what Eren will have to die for as well.

Armin and Mikasa can’t answer when Annie asks if killing Eren is something they can live with, but they’ll have to make a decision soon. With just one more episode (and the inevitable final movie/miniseries) to go, our heroes no longer have the luxury of indecision. There is no more time to lose. The end is here.


Attack on Titan The Final Season Part 2 It is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop cultures, which can also be found at Twitterhis blog and his podcast.