Miina McCown/The Broadside
This is, without a doubt one of the most relevant anime series being released recently. After years of hiatus, Attack on Titan’s final season has everyone talking, long-time fans and newbies as well, practically the Avengers: Endgame of the anime world. It became the most demanded television show in the United States as of 2021 and is ranking #45 in the top-rated TV shows on IMDb.
Season four began airing in early December of 2020, with episodes yet to be released for the next few weeks.
It’s clear that from the beginning of the series, and even more obvious now that the creator, Hajime Isayama, wanted to spark a conversation. Through his writing, he flipped the idea of war and justice upside down, seeing how the audience chooses to react.
While Attack on Titan presents a story and a world that is thoroughly entertaining, it also challenges its viewers to think more deeply about things such as freedom and ethics.
Rather than painting a picture of clear-cut morality, the story focuses on shades of grey. Much of humanity is not able to unite against a common enemy as some see the full picture (the Survey Corps), and some are opposed to the process of uniting (Special Units). We also get to see Reiner, a character who had been the cause of a lot of death and disaster, in a whole new light in the newest season.
From the first season, the story also challenges viewers to think about whether or not killing titans is entirely moral itself. While we see the story play out through the eyes of the humans who are terrorized and eaten by monstrous giants, is it really ethical for them to kill the titans in order to survive? Or are the titans just trying to survive too?
Establishing these shades of grey within the morals structuring the story is more representative of reality and makes for a more interesting story rather than having the “good guys” and the “bad guys” be clear for viewers from the beginning.
Season four opens with a time skip and we are introduced to a whole new group of characters in an entirely different country, Marley. We are suddenly able to see the perspective of the Marleyans as the ones behind the attacks on Paradis Island, or where the main characters lived during the first seasons and why they believed that the inhabitants of Paradis were so dangerous. They lived ignorant of how they were descendants of the titans and a threat to the rest of the world.
As we are reintroduced to the main characters, many of them also have redesigned their appearances. While it was slightly strange at first to see some of the characters without their iconic looks, it also felt natural with the progression of the story and a necessary part of their arcs as characters growing up.
Attack on Titan is truly a piece of entertainment that not only achieves a level of quality that is difficult to maintain throughout multiple seasons by many other TV shows, but it also changes our thinking and challenges our beliefs. It not only has impressive animation and soundtrack but also can be enjoyed on many levels. I would recommend this show to anyone who likes great visuals, a compelling storyline, fascinating characters and action-filled sequences.