‘Attack on Titan’ final season cashes in on suspense, weaves beautiful story


Photo courtesy of IMDb

Josiah Anderson, Staff Writer

The first episode of “Attack on Titan’s” (AoT) second part in the two part final season released Jan. 2 on Crunchyroll and Funimation, with one new episode releasing every sunday until the hour long finale coming April 3. The shōnen anime is often regarded as one of the greatest anime to hit the screen for a myriad of reasons, from the suspenseful and passionate musical score to the emotional tension and philosophical dilemmas it presents. Fans have long anticipated an ending to the film series adapted from the manga by artist Hajime Isayama, and will soon be given an answer.

AoT notably took a turn in plot direction and tone in the fourth season’s first part, released Dec. 7, 2020, and since that moment has chugged along at full speed. Picking up exactly where the first part left off, the second season jumps right into the action of the main antagonists with the empire of Marley and armored titan, Renier Braun versus the main protagonists of Paradis Island and the main character Eren Yeager. As different characters swing into motion and the conflict heats up, they are faced with the all too familiar moral challenges that cloud every decision. The line between good and evil becomes blurred, as both sides fail to remain innocent in the conflict.

One thing that remains constant throughout the course of the fourth season is a feeling of dread. While this is not unfamiliar territory for AoT viewers, the fourth season’s second part seems to be centered around it. From the beautiful yet threatening opening song to the credits music to the constant progression of Eren toward his goals, AoT’s fourth season focuses on building the feeling of anticipation for the eventual but dreaded resolution. 

Building off this feeling, the plot catapults forward by clashing the various perspectives of the characters seen spanning all four seasons in one greater conflict. Watching the characters interact and meld into one cohesive storyline proves a daunting but wonderfully executed task, which Isayama pulled off with flying colors–though doing so does not come without a cost.

The fourth season executes the exposition well. While some anime have a tendency to explain the story through a “maid and butler” kind of dialogue that exists through incredibly obvious conversation, AoT provides a much more entertaining explanation. It takes entire episodes to drive the plot and characters forward, but does this through the lens of discovery and understanding that leaves the viewer both stunned and satisfied.

AoT’s fourth season is the final note in a symphony of emotions and character development, all placed in a uniquely designed world, but it clashes with western culture and the typical story telling of the west. As in western film-making—especially with regards to a hero’s journey—oftentimes the protagonist is always the good guy and the easiest one to root for. In AoT’s fourth season, however, the main character remains the same from the opening scene of the first episode of season one all the way through the fourth season, but his arc of development sees him progress from a defiant and determined hero to a relative villain with the same traits. This is done not through changing the content of his character, but in changing the narrative’s perspective. While many fans and viewers see this as a wonderful demonstration of character consistency and design, others may feel it a sad and unsatisfying resolution to the story, as the classic hero and villain format exists in a far more controversial way.

As one of the most influential shōnen anime of the past several years comes to a dramatic close, fans across the world will undoubtedly speculate and discuss its ending, as well as reflect on the numerous ups and downs of the series. A wonderful film score, captivating plot, consistent but unique characters and an interesting world have crafted a beautiful story. The only question remaining is whether the ending satisfies or disturbs the audience.


How do you feel about the final season of Attack on Titan? Let us know in the comments below.