BY NICKIE HAYES
If you are not caught up on the latest season, watch out, there are spoilers.
If you are a fan of anime, you have probably heard of “Attack on Titan,” also known as “Shingeki no Kyojin” in Japan. If not, be warned, this is a gruesome, but awesome show.
As of now, AOT is in its fourth season. However, the first season aired back in 2013. Now almost a decade in, the fandom has grown immensely and it is a must-watch show for anime buffs.
Jack Powers has been watching anime since he was a kid: shows such as “Dragon Ball Z,” “Pokemon” and “YuGiHo.” A fan since the beginning, he watched the first season of “Attack on Titan” when it originally came out in 2013.
He took a break though, but has recently gotten back into the show. “I rewatched that and all the rest of the show that has been dubbed in the span of the last three months or so,” he said.
Sydney Morris, also an avid anime fan since she was a kid, has only just started AOT recently. “I’ve been watching anime for honestly my whole life and ‘Attack on Titan’ for about four months,” she said.
Titans and Their New Role
As the title of the show suggests, the Titans are not friendly creatures. Titans, as depicted at the beginning of the show, are human-eating monsters, who for the most part seem mindless. All they want to do is consume.
Yet as the show progresses, Titans are not what they appear to be. The audience learns that these Titans are actually humans who have transformed. A race of humans called “Subjects of Ymir” have the ability to turn themselves into these savages. As well, Ymir is the founder or original titan, who is supposed to guide and protect the “Subjects of Ymir” on the island of Paradis, the place where most of the anime transpires.
Does this new information change viewers’ perspective on the titans?
“Through the seasons I have felt that the Titans have been shown in a more human way,” Powers said. “They didn’t have a say in what they were doing or why they were there.”
Morris has a similar mindset. “With the way that the Titans have been developed throughout the show, they have been humanized a lot. I still dislike them, but also feel bad for them,” she said.
Plot Twists and the Main Characters
You must be asking yourself, what about Eren? If you aren’t familiar with AOT, Eren Yeager is the main character, along with his two best friends, Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert.
This season, audiences were hit with a hard blow as Yeager is not the protagonist they once knew. The determined, passionate and strong-willed teen in the first two seasons is now resorting to genocide.
In episode 80, Yeager initiated the rumbling. Yeager unhardened the walls that surrounded Paradis with the power of the Ymir, the founder Titan, freeing the Titans who were stuck in the wall. Fans most likely already knew this was going to occur because of the foreshadowing presented earlier in the season, but there was a twist.
Yeager not only initiated the rumbling, but declared that the race of “Subjects of Emir” would not be safe on the island of Paradis until all other people in the world are gone. He used the Titans from the wall in an attempt to protect his home and his people, but through genocide of the rest of the world’s population.
Morris was not surprised to hear this though. “Given his anger toward the Titans in the beginning of the show, it makes sense, he’s always had that anger in him,” she said. “Eren has so much hatred and grief in his heart; it makes sense that he is acting this way.”
Powers on the other hand was dumbfounded. He thought Yeager’s past experiences living in other places besides Paradis would sway him to act differently and not let innocent people die.
“The realization that he would do something like this is surprising because he has always been about saving humanity, not stomping out other human lives,” he said. “Eren is a man of his country and will do what it takes to make sure he is on the winning side. I guess that even means killing innocent people.”
Even if this did not surprise a hardcore fan like Morris, it definitely surprised Yeager’s two closest companions, Ackerman and Arlert.
Will the two of them ever be able to reconcile with Yeager?
Powers wants to say yes and is hoping for the best. “I feel as if Eren’s true intentions haven’t been shown yet, and once they are, they could join forces with him again,” he said.
Morris believes the ties between the trio are too close for their friendship to be over. “No, I don’t think they will ever be able to truly be out of each other’s lives,” she said. “There is so much pain, but also a lot of loyalty between the three of them.”
There’s More AOT to Come
As of just a few weeks ago, viewers thought this was the last season of AOT and rightfully so as this season was titled “Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2.” Now, after the last episode was aired in Japan, the actual finish to the series had been announced. The season is titled “Attack on Titan The Final Season Final Arc.”
For Powers, he was elated to hear the news and doesn’t want any downtime until 2023 when it is supposed to air. “I’m very interested to see how it will end, just upset I have to wait that long,” he said.
Morris on the other hand had a different point of view. “I would rather them take the time to tell a complete story than cut it short,” she said.
Powers hopes this final season brings the fulfilling ending all AOT fans are hoping for, with no open ended questions, as the creators have done to viewers in previous seasons. However, he doesn’t quite know what to expect.
“The thing with AOT is that the show is complicated,” he said. “Everything you know about the show could change in three episodes, so I don’t really know what the direction of the show is because it could change so much in no time.”
Morris said, “I can never predict what is going to happen.”
Even with all the uncertainty that surrounds the show, viewers keep coming back for more. That’s sort of the beauty of the show: you truly never know what is going to happen.
Be that as it may, if you’re looking for an anime as good as “Attack on Titan,” Powers and Morris have some recommendations.
Although, Morris said AOT is quite unique and she is right. There are not many or any other anime out there like “Attack on Titan.” Nevertheless, she said to try watching “My Hero Academia.”
Powers said, “I would recommend shows like ‘Cowboy Bebop’ and ‘Fullmetal Alchemist.’”
Again, “Attack on Titan” is a must-watch show for anime junkies. When the season first aired, according to IMDb, it reached number four on their “Most Popular TV Shows” chart. Since then, it has dropped to number 35, but this is still a feat as it is the only anime on the entire list of 100 shows to watch.
Fans of AOT will have to wait a year for the third installment of the final season, but at least this season has kept fans on the edge of their seats like previous seasons. It seems the hype around “Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2” might be enough to hold viewers over until then.