My Top Ten Anime of All Time

To celebrate my 900th blog post, I decided to make my top ten anime of all time lists. When coming up with the top ten I focused on series that had the most impact on me. At the same time I also choose anime that can and have stood the test of time (even from an animation stand point), and I would recommend to anyone. I don’t think any of these series are going to be surprise anyone, as most are mainstream to an anime audience.

[Note] One Piece, Naruto and Bleach aren’t on the lists because I prefer(ed) the manga.


10. Dragon Ball Z

If this was a list of the series that I was the most nostalgic about Dragon Ball Z would be number one. Most of my childhood was centered on DBZ . The Cartoon Network would torture me by repeating the same arc’s over and over again. I must have watched the Radditz arc at least 50 times before they moved on to the saiyan arc. The series has come to define anime for many anime fans and non-anime fans. It’s hands down one of, if not the most popular anime series of all-time. Dragon Ball Z has been often mocked for it’s constant screaming and it’s “inaction sequences.” My mother would often comment “did they start fighting yet” as she would walk past the t.v. Despite it’s iconic status, DBZ as a series had a lot of problems. This is mostly due to running up against the manga. DBZ had many bad fillers, dragged out fights and at one point took ten episodes for planet Namek to explode. Even with this, the series had some of the most epic fights and has clearly left a mark on anime in general. Dragon Ball Z still remains an anime series that I consider a must see.


9. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

A mecha anime series by Gainax, Gurren Lagann focuses on mankind’s rise from a subterranean existence to the galactic exploration. Taking place in a future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, a young digger named Simon and his “brother” Kamina dream of reaching the surface. As they and Team Gurren make their way to the skies, they engage in epic, over the top mecha battles. Gurren Lagann features high quality animation, surprising deaths, fanservice, theme music power ups and cool mecha designs. Gurren Lagann resulted in another anime classic for Gainax.


8. Made in Abyss

My favorite anime genre tends to be shonen, but Made in Abyss made me appreciate the seinen genre more. Made in Abyss plays with expectation, if you think the adorable characters are going to have a fun adventure, you are wrong. While only having one season under it’s belt, Made in Abyss had a profound impact on me. Exciting, ruthless, filled with body horror, tear jerking moments and has a intriguing mystery to discover. Made in Abyss is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth the emotional scarring.


7. Hunter X Hunter

For some reason I kept avoiding Hunter X Hunter. After running into a little bit of an anime drought, I decided to give the series a try. I wasn’t disappointed. On the surface Hunter X Hunter feels like a typical shonen series, but it’s more than that. Gon Freecss, the main protagonists, is a prime example of the undermining of shonen tropes this series does. I loved it’s complicated power system (Nen), character development, action and the uses of a narrator. Narration seemed unnecessary at first but I think it is an amazing addition to the series that adds to it.


6. Mob Psycho 100

An anime from web-comic creator ONE, Mob Psycho 100, is about a 14 year old boy named Shigeo Kageyama. He aims to be ordinary despite the fact that he’s extraordinary with telekinesis. He is a complicated young man struggling with his emotions and fear of his power harming others. Mob Psycho 100 main moral lesson is that despite having an extraordinary abilities you still need work to improve yourself as a human. Mob in particular embodies this theme. Despite his psychic powers he doesn’t think he’s better than anyone. That said, Mob Psycho 100 is still a shonen series with fluid animation, bright colors, humor, funny characters and epic battles.


5. One Punch Man

The creator of Mob Psycho 100 is also the creator of One Punch Man. The title is to be taken literally, as the main protagonist, Saitama is capable of defeating most monsters with one punch. One Punch Man is a parody of the shonen superhero series. It makes fun of the over the top and somewhat silly nature of the typical shonen anime, that results in the main character always defeating the bad guy. It’s surprising how satisfying you find Saitama’s one hit victories. The series does have interesting action, usually it’s other less powerful characters are doing the fighting though. Despite this the series does manage to keep us wondering, which monster can make Saitama hit it more than once. The first season is considered perfect, the second one, not so much. Still, One Punch Man remains an important series for anime fans to watch.


4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

The story of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse is a sad, tragic tale. Born into a world that practices alchemy, the brothers arrogance leads them to believe that they can break one of the most important rules of alchemy. Trying to resurrect their mother, Ed loses his right arm and left leg and his brother loses his entire body. The brothers go in search of the “philosopher stone,” so they can transmute without consequences. While maintaining a sense of humor, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is full of themes like sacrifice, death, selfishness, what is truth, and the value of life. If you want to watch an anime series that balances dark themes, comedy and great action, FMA is it.


3. Attack on Titan

If you read this far it’s clear that I love anime series that manage to successfully combine dark, mature themes with great action and top animation. Attack on Titan is a series that lives up to those standards. What separates Attack on Titan from typical series is the level of dreariness. While the main characters are largely safe, you’ll never certain. Secondary characters and any other character are fair game. With characters that are constantly underdogs, failure is the most likely outcome. Often in anime you feel that everything will be fine, in Attack on Titan your surprised that half the squad is still alive. Attack on Titan has mystery, what are titans (weird giant humanoids) and why do they eat humans? Conspiracies, what is the government doing? As they fight for human survival, the scouts deal with trauma, lost and death.


2. Cowboy Bebop

For many Cowboy Bebop is the greatest anime ever. Considered to be a masterpiece, Shinichiro Watanabe blends elements of westerns with elements of film noir. The classic anime series Lupin the third was a visual influence and the three main characters of Cowboy Bebop are inspired by Lupin, Jigen and Fujiko from Lupin. The overall story is influence by Japanese cinema. Cowboy Bebop also uses a jazz heavy soundtrack that is iconic on it’s own, marking a major departure from the common use of J Pop. Cowboy Bebop focuses on mature themes like loneliness and difficulties escaping the past, it’s well animated, well (voice) acted and generally entertaining. Cowboy Bebop is considered a “gateway series” for anime, and I couldn’t agree more.


1. Neon Genesis Evangelion

When I first began watching Neon Genesis Evangelion it was for the epic and violent mecha battles. I couldn’t comprehend the more complex themes and imagery woven into the narrative. Evangelion is credited with revolutionizing anime as a medium. Set in the year 2000, a global cataclysm called the “Second Impact,” changes the world. Antarctica is destroyed and the planet’s axis shifts, causing flooding and a altered climate. After nuclear war, half the worlds population is wiped out. Teenagers, Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami pilot massive mecha called Eva’s. Their enemy are physic altering monsters dubbed Angels.

Evangelion explores complex themes like depression, human subjectivity, and child abuse. The series makes many references to philosophical, psychoanalytic concepts, as well as references to Kabbalah, Christian and Jewish religions. Evangelion even uses religious texts like the Book of Genesis within the series and the Angels share names found in religion like Sachiel. The series has been described as both a ” both a critique and deconstruction of the mecha genre.” On the surface, Neon Genesis Evangelion, is a mecha anime with distinctly designed robots that engage in brutal battles. However, the series has levels of deeper and more sophisticated themes that makes Evangelion one of the most well regarded series ever.

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Attack On Titan Episode 59: Recap & Review

Queen Historia

Episode 59, Beyond the Walls

The tone of this season finale left me with a somber feeling. It wasn’t that there weren’t any happy moments, but they were always tempered by a realization that left the characters sadden. This is typical for Attack on Titan. I didn’t expect for any more revelation in this episode and we didn’t really get it. This isn’t a complaint, just an observation. Regardless, I think it was a perfect ending to the season. During the Paradis government meeting. Historia decides that the people are to be informed the truth regarding the Titans and what’s beyond the walls. Unsurprisingly, some believe the story others not so much.

Floch telling Armin why he choose Erwin

Regardless of whether they believe the story, at least the people know. Hitch arrives at the ceremony to honor the fallen solders, Floch tells her that Marlo was a hero. Most importantly he raises the question that Erwin should have been chosen over Armin. It’s an odd that Floch feels it’s necessary to make sure Armin knows that he basically wanted him to die. It’s going to be awkward regardless but Floch went too far in my opinion. When Historia touches Eren hand he has a flashback of Fritz memory. After the attack on Trost District and the refugees are returned Wall Maria.

Eren seeing Grisha’s memories

The Scout’s finally get to see the wall where Grisha was transformed into a Titan. They finally get to see the ocean. This was a happy moment, as the Scouts played in the ocean. Everyone was having a good time until Eren became a buzzkill, reminding them that they won’t have any freedom until they kill all their enemies overseas. As I stated, I think this was a perfect ending. While, the joy was brief, they did get a moment of it. With Eren reminding the Scouts and us that trouble still remains. Overall, this season departed from what the previous one did. This was for the better I think. We got to see other characters (mainly Levi) become more 3 dimensional.

The Scouts frolicking in the ocean

Eren and his friends to a backseat. At the same the world of Attack on Titan got a major expansion. The amount of new details could be overwhelming but I think was necessary. While, I’m sure Titan fights won’t end, I think we now will see them as victims more than perpetrators. As forced weapons, resulting from the bigotry of “humans.” This doesn’t make them less dangerous, but it does make killing sadder. It seemed like when Eren accepted that he wasn’t alone and part of a larger group he was going to happier. However, realizing that “freedom” isn’t close has resulted in him becoming more dreary than before. As always, I look forward to the next season in 2020.

Attack On Titan Episode 58: Recap & Review

Episode 58, Attack Titan

The Owl’s real name is Eren Kruger. Grisha question Eren on why he refused to transform sooner. As Eren collapses he confesses to “cutting off the fingers and turning thousands of subjects of Ymir into Titans.” He believed that this would help Eldia. He gives Grisha a mission to get the founding Titan’s power. He tells Grisha that he will “inherit” his Titan and the reason he can’t do it himself is that those “who inherit one of the Nine Titans dies thirteen years later.” This is called “Ymir’s curse,” meaning that Armin has thirteen years to live and Eren has less than eight.

Mikasa believes that this must be a lie, although she may be in doubt. Eren states that if a bearer dies without being eaten a baby will be born with the ability. Eren explains that all subjects of Ymir are connected by the Coordinate (Founding Titan). Grisha cowards in front of the new mission he’s expected to undertake. He’s feels too much guilt. Regardless, Eren is able to convince him to take up the mission. He reveals that each Titan has a name, and his Titan is called the Attack Titan. Levi and Hange arrive and release Eren and Mikasa. They are heading to meet Queen Historia.

Historia is reading the letter the Ymir wrote to her. In the letter Ymir suggest that she will be killed and that she wanted to marry Historia. When she touches the letter she sees what looks like Ymir’s entire life. The Scouts explain what happened at the Wall so the rest of the government are up to speed. Hange explains that while Eren has inherited the Founding Titan’s power he can’t use it because he’s not of royal blood. However, a royal descendant that inherits the Founding Titan wouldn’t be possessed by the King’s will preventing from acting against the world.

Eren realizes that he was able to use the power of the Founding Titan because he was touching Dina. He’s unsure what would happen to Historia if he revealed this as a possible reason. In the flashback, Eren tells Grisha he needs to “love” someone, otherwise “history will repeat itself.” He then says something strange. He tells Grisha if he ” wants to save Mikasa, Armin, and everyone else,” he must complete his mission. Grisha is unaware who he’s talking about. Eren seems to be unaware who’s memory he was tapping into. I’ll admit this part was so confusing or shocking that I though it might be a translation error.

We know that Grisha became a father figure to Mikasa after he parents death, did he assume that he had to protect her? What we also know is that memories can be past “along” the “path.” It was never stated that these memories could it only go from the past to the current Titan holder. What if it could go from the current to the past as well. Of course this is just a guess and it would be confusing if it worked that way. Regardless, the depth of storytelling and newly introduced mythos makes this series even more entertaining. The final episode will likely be a setup for the next season, but with Attack on Titan you just never know.

Attack On Titan Episode 56 & 57 Recap & Review

The photo

Episode 56, The Basement

Armin awakens after having a nightmare of a crying Colossal Titan. He has no memory of what happened before. With only eight members of the Survey Corps remaining they explain what happened to Armin. Realizing that his life came at the expense of Erwin’s, Armin is devastated and doesn’t believe he sure have been chosen. Hange, Levi, Eren and Mikasa are left to investigate the basement. Eren, Levi and the others discovers a family photo of a man standing next to a women.

On the back of the photo is an explanation of what a photo is. In post credits, Eren starts reading Grisha’s book, which begins with Grisha recounting his tragic childhood. This episode largely is closing the last arc and opening the next one. As a result this episode wasn’t really that interesting. However, it has set up the next one.


Gross lying about what happened to Fay

Episode 57, That Day

We get the story that Grisha wrote in his book. A young Grisha drags his sister outside of the “Liberio Internment Zone.” They wanted to see the airship. They are caught by two guards, Kruger and Gross. As punishment, Grisha is offered a beating or hard labor. He chooses a beating for both his sister and himself. While taking his beating, Gross offers to take his sister, Fay home. However, she never makes it. Her corpse is found in the river. Grisha and his mother are devastated, but his father seems unmoved.

What really happened to Fay

Grisha begins to hate his father for his cowardly behavior. His father tells him the long history of the “Eldians and the Marley nation.” As Grisha grows older he’s told how his sister was killed by Gross (fled to dogs) and joins the Eldian Restorationists. The group was supported by an informant named “Owl.” Grisha marries Dina Fritz, the last member of the Eldian royal family. Together they have a child, Zeke(the Beast Titan). Attempting to raise Zeke as an infiltrator, however, he betray’s them to the authorities.

Zeke learning the history of Eldian

Captured, the resistance are tortured for information about the Owl. They are then taken to the perimeter wall to be forced into becoming mindless Titans. Both Kruger and Gross are present. Gross then turns Dina into the Titan that would later eat Eren’s mother. Gross proves to be an heartless monster, before getting what he deserves. It turns out that Kruger is “Owl,” and he’s also a Titan. He pushes Gross over the wall, leaving him to be eaten by a titan. His transformation appears to be similar to that of Eren’s, as he attacks the other members of the security squad.

Dina in Titan form

There’s a lot to digest in this episode. If you believe what the Marleyans do the Eldians were humans that could transform into Titan’s and used this power for world domination and oppression of other people. Or, according to the Eldians, they only wanted to give everyone to live peacefully in prosperity. Considering that this is Attack on Titan, I highly doubt that either side is really telling the whole truth. For Zeke to betray his parents as a child, would suggest that he believed the Eldians were wrong. The were also so many surprising reveals this episode.

The “Owl” pushes Gross

I thought Zeke had some relation to Eren in the previous episodes, I never predicted that they were brothers. Weirdly, Zeke does appear to be enacting the mission he turned his parents in for. I wonder what changed his mind? Another thing that’s interesting is that Eren and everyone living on that island didn’t know that they were Eldian’s. With only two episode remaining for this season I’m not sure what will get answered but I’m very excited for what happens next.

Kruger in Titan form

Attack On Titan Episode 55 Recap & Review

Eren and Zeke meet

Episode 55, Midnight Sun

After last weeks action packed episode you would think that this one would get the blood pumping. It’s episodes like these that make Attack on Titan standout to me. The world of this series is dark and occasionally I forget how dire of an situation the scouts are in. This episode reminds us what’s at stake, humanity. I predicted the outcome of this episode in my previous review of episode 54. What I couldn’t predict is how we would get there. It was a heart wrenching conclusion.

Eren seems to accept that Armin has meet his death early in the episode. Zeke (The Beast Titan) arrives on the back of the Cart Titan, and recognizes Eren as the son of Grisha Jaeger. He claims that Eren “was brainwashed” by his father. Before he can elaborate he flees when Levi arrives. When he does he tells Eren that he will “save” him on day. My best hunch is that Zeke is related to both Eren and Grisha in some way. Levi lands and demands Eren give him his gear, then Armin gasp for air.

Armin eats Bertholdt

Meanwhile, Hange and the others try to no avail to interrogate Reiner. When Hange tries to cut the throat of Reiner, Jean tells her that because it’s “possible they might be able to steal his power.” Hange agrees and sends Mikasa to get the Titan injection. Of course when Mikasa arrives she sees Armin’s charred body. Eren quickly asks for the Titan injection to give Armin. Just as he does, Floch arrives with Erwin on his back. Erwin is still alive but barely, creating a conflict that was obvious but unexpected.

Erwin dies

Understandably, Mikasa and Eren are obviously on Armin’s “side,” whereas Levi and Floch are on Erwin’s. What follows is a tense exchange where both side argue which of the two have done more for humanity and which one would do more in the future. Erwin clearly has done more for humanity in part due to his age. This of course also work against him when taking about the future. Armin is much younger so he couldn’t have done more that Erwin, but he can do more in the future. Regardless, Armin is the one that’s saved. Armin in Titan form grabs Bertholdt and consumes him becoming the Colossal Titan, while Erwin dies.

It will be interesting to see how Armin handles his new power. He’s not a fighter like Eren stated, but then again you really can’t fight with the Colossal Titan the way you can with other Titan forms. Also, will there be any lingering animosity in the scouts or is everything fine now that Armin was saved. The scouts as always have lost a lot, but they gained a new intelligent titan, maybe the most intelligent.

Armin lives

Attack On Titan Episode 54 Recap & Review

Episode 54, Hero

This was the episode I was hoping for. The animation was top notch, the action superb and still maintain the intense and sad moments. The Beast Titan (Zeke) is dismayed by the fruitless efforts of the Scouts. Marlo Freudenberg wonders what Hitch Dreyse is doing at this point as he rides to his death. The remaining Scouts continue to ride despite the danger. While they face their deaths, the Scouts both distract the Beast Titan and blind him with the smoke from the signal flares. This is what makes their sacrifice so valuable. Levi manages to reach the Beast Titan.

Enraged, Levi dominates the Beast Titan. Levi cuts up the Beast Titan arm up and it is ripped to pieces. Zeke recalls being warned by Reiner that he needed to be careful regarding Levi. This proves of course to be a good warning. However, it doesn’t help him as Levi proceeds to cut the Beast Titan’s eyes then his legs and other arm. Zeke falls to the ground and is unable to protect his nape as Levi cuts him out. The helplessness that even a Titan like the Beast Titan has in the face of Levi is still surprising. Levi and Mikasa have always been exceptional fighters. Watching them in action you wonder why humanity feels so disadvantaged.

Obviously, you need to have more than just Levi and Mikasa, but as war powers go they are significant. What saves Zeke from death is the value of his power. As Levi notes if he could inject a Scout with the “Titan injection,” they could consume Zeke and gain the Beast Titans power. However, the weird Cart Titan grabs Zeke in his mouth and the seemed to escape. Meanwhile, Armin finally takes control of the squad and gives them orders to stop Reiner. He concludes that the Colossal Titan has gotten thinner since the battle began. He decides that he and Eren can handle the Colossal Titan together.

Mikasa and the others battle Reiner, who has forgotten what happened to him. Mikasa takes his knee out with one of the Thunder Spears and he falls. Armin tells Eren his plan of screen. The wall give way resulting in Eren falling to the ground. Armin confronts the Colossal Titan by himself. Jean, Conny and Sasha try to break open the jaw of Reiner using the spears. They miss one and his jaw fails to open. The plan was to have Conny and Sasha break open his jaw and have Mikasa then use her spear to blow up the nape from inside his mouth.

Armin is being scorched by the Colossal Titans steam. Bertholdt is stunned that this was all Armin came up with. He decides to put Armin out of his misery. He turns up the heat and Armin’s body burns. Eventually his ODM gear gives and he falls. Meanwhile, a wounded Hange arrives and shoots her spear into Reiner’s jaw opening it for Mikasa. She takes the opportunity to finally manages to blow Reiner out of the nape. Bertholdt believing that he’s won, fails to notice in time that Eren has left a harden shell behind. Eren appears behind the Colossal Titan and cuts Bertholdt out.

I’ll admit I teared up when I saw Armin’s charred body. However, after realizing what Levi said earlier regarding how “the Titan injection could save someone even if they’re dying.” It seems obvious that Armin is the perfect candidate for the injection. He had been setup as a replacement for Erwin and it would save his life of course. The question is which Titan, Bertholdt or Reiner would he eat? It doesn’t really matter at this point. Armin is just to valuable to die. Overall, this episode as I mentioned was spectacular. The pacing, drama, intensity, narrative twists and animation all was great. I’m excited for the rest of this season.

Attack on Titan Episode 53 Recap & Review

Episode 53, Perfect Game

I’m a little annoyed that Attack on Titan has clearly dragged the conflict on too long. I don’t know why they didn’t just have fewer episodes. Also the animation seemed worst this episode and I hated the CGI. The series has animated the Colossal Titan before, they should do it more. Anyway, Armin freezes up when tasked with leading. He leave Jean in charge. Jean orders everyone to ride on top of Eren to preserve gas. Armin is still responsible for coming up with a better plan.

The results of the explosion from the Colossal Titan on Hange’s squad remains unclear. As Levi considers rejoining his comrades, stones fly towards him with devastating force. The Beast Titan wipes out many of the scouts on the front lines. The Beast Titan picks up another bolder and plans on shooting a “perfect game.” Not to nitpick but, how does the Beast Titan know about baseball? It’s possible of course that it’s part of the culture or maybe something that use to exists in the AOT world.

Anyway, the scouts are trapped. Erwin joins them on the ground. The Beast Titan has them defeated. Eren and the others attack the Colossal Titan. It doesn’t have any effect as Bertholdt simply kicks Eren onto the top of the wall. Jean comes up with another useless plan and the Armored Titan re-emerges. Erwin decides that their only plan is to charge the Beast Titan. The problem is he needs to convince the other scouts to ride out to their deaths. In order to do this Erwin must be the leader of the scouts, meaning that he will die first.

Erwin gives a powerful speech and is successful in convincing the scouts to ride with him. Erwin’s leadership is in stark contrast to Armin’s lack of leadership. If Armin is going to replace Erwin the he will need to at least emulate some of what makes Erwin a great leader. Their styles are going to be different, but good leaders share similar qualities and right now Armin is missing a lot of these qualities. Despite the slow burn I’m still excited for the next episode. Erwin and the scouts are probably goners. How will Levi react to Erwin’s death? How would Armin?

Attack On Titan Episode 51 Recap & Review

Reiner moves his mind to his body

Episode 51, Thunder Spears

This episode was a bit of a slow burn. I liked that. While the scouts rest atop of the wall, the Beast Titan and the other titans wait outside the Shiganshina District. Reiner Braun begins to climb the wall behind the scouts. While he does so, Erwin deduces the motives of the Beast Titan. Erwin orders the scouts to avoid the Armor Titan. He concludes that the horses are a major target for the Beast Titan. If they can take away “the scouts only means of escape.” He orders the Dirk Squad and Marlene Squad join Klaus Squad to protect the horses.

Eren prepares to fight Reiner

He orders the Levi Squad and Hange Squad to defeat the Armored Titan, using the Thunder Spears. However, Erwin orders Levi to protect the horse and when possible take down the Beast Titan. When Reiner gets to the top of the wall, he contemplates his options. Eren transforms forcing Reiner to choose between killing the horses or capturing Eren, he goes with the later. Eren successfully baits Reiner into a fight. Once the fight begins Eren hardens his fingers and they fight in the town Eren grew up in.

Erwin remembers the fallen

As the scouts rush to kill the small Titans, Levi and Erwin notes that the scouts have gotten weaker. Meanwhile, Eren takes the lead in battle against Reiner. We get a detailed explanation from Hange of what the new weapon the, Thunder Spear. Reiner is thrown off by Eren leaving him exposed. Hange and Mikasa fly towards Reiner and use the new spears on his eyes. They exploded, blinding him. The rest of the Levi and Hange squads fire the spears into his back, destroying the armor around his nape. His neck now exposed the scout send multiple spears into his neck and it explodes.

The scouts descend on Reiner

If the scouts are able to create and use new weapons they could gain an advantage in the war against the titans. Most titans are not that intelligent so it would be necessary to waste these weapons on them. However, with special titans like the Armor or Colossus they could benefit from more sophisticated weapons. I’ve mentioned this before, but I think Erwin is going to die here. His backstory only confirmed this. Furthermore, Armin is perfect to replace his mind and Levi is a better fighter at this point.

Does Reiner meet his end?

The biggest question right now is, did Reiner die? It would be implausible if he didn’t. The weapon was designed to kill him and he was largely defenseless against it, plus Eren is still around. There’s now way he can survived right? He did manage to survive the attack from Levi by transferring his mind to his body. Will he get lucky again?

Attack On Titan Episode 50 Recap & Review

AOT, The Town Where Everything Began

Regardless, the scouts are traveling by foot towards Wall Maria. They run into a sleeping Titan. Hange Zoe speculates that it could ” be inactive simply because they are traveling on a moonless night when the sun’s light cannot reflect off the surface of the moon.”

Eren trembles in the face off the expectation he feels. He denies this when Armin points it out. The trio recognize that they’re all back home. During the morning the scouts scale the wall and begin sealing the gates. Armin quickly notices remnants of fire and notifies Erwin that he believes that Reiner Braun and Bertholdt Hoover may be around. The scouts start to notice that there are no Titans around. Anyway, Eren transforms a plugs one of the holes. Erwin and Dirk discuss the lack of Titans, as Armin arrives.

He informs them of the signs that someone was camping. Erwin is surprised that the pot Armin mention was cold. He speculates that “the campers should not have had more than two minutes to react if they had spotted or heard the Scouts from atop the Wall, which is too soon for the pot to have already cooled.” Erwin then gives Armin command of the scouts, recognizing that he’s a major asset to the scouts.

Armin remembers the Titan in the Wall and concludes that the enemies could be hiding inside them. Erwin halts the mission. The scouts search for places in the wall that might be hiding enemies. One Scout finds a cavity in the wall, which reveals that Reiner in behind it. He seems to kill the scout, and is quickly attacked by Levi. Even though Levi manages to stab Reiner in the neck, he survives.

Reiner then transforms into the Armored Titan. Erwin calls for to look for Reiner’s allies. Several flashes of thunder appear behind him, revealing the Beast Titan and many Titans. The Beast Titan hurls a boulder blocking the entrance so the scouts can’t escape.
This episode largely designed to set up the conflict for the remaining season. I didn’t expect that this episode would feature heavy on action. It is clear that Armin will become a focal point of the series from this point.

Attack on Titan Season 3 preview

The second part of the Attack on Titan Season 3 got it’s promotional trailer from Pony Canyon, the trailer confirms an April return. It’s epic, I can’t wait, watch:


Attack on Titan to feature wall to wall battles

Attack on Titan won’t return until this spring but according to comicbook.com, Araki Tetsuro and Koizuka Masashi spoke with Animedia about what to expect from the rest of the season. Tetsuro stated that “things will kick off fast when the anime resumes.” The director said that “It will go straight into everyone’s much-anticipated combat with Titans. After that it’s battle after battle after battle – we’ll finally have a sudden death confrontation with the Titan Shifters.”

Koizuka “teased” the arrival of new weaponry. “Speaking of combat, there are new weapons in play. That weapon will become the responsibility of someone from Episode 49.” While I thought the pacing and focus on story was a refreshing change to the series and fighting and killing humans instead of Titans created an interesting conflict, I did start to miss the harrowing fights between Titans and humans. Of course I also believe that the second half of the season will feature deaths of some of our favorite scouts.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 9 Review: Ruler of the Walls

The massive titan of Rod Reiss continues to drag itself toward Orvud District. Erwin’s plan becomes more clear as Hange explains why it would be a bad idea to evacuate the citizens. Because Rod is an abnormal Titan he would be drawn to a larger crowd of people. If they evacuate it simply will change direction, potentially destroying the wall itself and killing more people.

Erwin acknowledges that the scouts are duty bound to protect the citizens and that even though they will use them as bait, they have developed a plan to save them if needed. The scouts will have the citizen participate in a “emergency evacuation drill.” They begin in the morning, but the citizens aren’t interested. They complain and question the authority of the scouts. Considering their attitude I can only conclude that these people haven’t been exposed to the Titans much.

Regardless, they quiet down as they notice the smoke coming from Rod’s Titan form. Cartsen orders the scouts to shoot Rod with cannon’s from a top of Wall Sina. This goes as well as I expected, which is to say not very well. Erwin has a seemingly ridiculous plan that of course is going to work. As Titan battles tend to go this one wasn’t the most action packed, but it made up for it by being the most disgusting. Rod having been crawling with half his face buried in the ground and well as his stomach, no longer has either.

His entrails fall out on top of Wall Sina. Finally, the citizens see the Titan and begin to flee. From this point the main scouts take over. After blowing up gunpowder near the Titans hands, it falls over. Eren carrying barrels of gunpowder, literally throws it into the Titans face. The heat causes them to blow up, resulting in an chain reaction that destroys the top half of Rod. Piece’s of the Titan fly off and Erwin order’s the Scout’s to cut up the chunks. The Scouts do so with Historia finally delivering the death blow to her father.

We finally see the results of what happened to Kenny and his squad. He appears to be the only survivor and is fatally wounded. Levi and another soldier find him sitting against a tree. As Levi noted his likely fate is death, Kenny shows him a syringe. There’s no way that this series will have another human made Titan so close to Rod. I think Kenny dies before he can use it or he gives it to Levi to use. The action in this episode was simple and mostly secondary. This episode was largely about the character growth of Historia and Eren.

Eren realizes that he was too arrogant. He seems to come to terms with the fact that despite his Titan abilities he’s not the “main character.” Eren of course remains very important to the series but it feels like he’s at peace with his place in the Scouts (and hopefully the series). I still think Historia’s transformation was too quick and not earned like Eren’s, but it will be good to see them accept themselves. With Historia now Queen, the scouts have a powerful ally, while killing off almost all of their non Titan enemies. A perfect time to head to the basement.

Attack on Titan Episode 8 Review: Outside the Walls of Orvud District

Rod beings transforming into a Titan that is twice the size of the Colossal Titan. While transforming Rod destroys the cavern. In order to survive they turn to Eren. As typical of him, Eren has been begging to be “eaten.” He continues to be a “crybaby,” calling himself “useless.” Eren continues to apologize, but Jean does accept it stating that “that Eren has never accomplished anything by himself.” Conny reminds him that “collectively they have been through worse.”

Finally, Eren decides to grab a bottle labeled “armor” and breaks it in his teeth. He transforms and pillars of crystal beings to reinforce the ceiling of the cavern. The squad hides underneath Eren. The Anti-Personnel Squad is harmed however. Caven and another solider are crushed by debris form the cavern ceiling. Unsurprisingly, Hange survives, as Armin and Moblit escape with her Erwin arrives with the scouts.

Meanwhile, Eren is freed from his crystallized Titan and has apparently gained the ability to “harden,” his skin. Levi points out that this is can be used to rebuild the Wall Maria. Interestingly, Rod’s Reiss Titan is strange. It’s large and seems to have a torso too long to stand, along with arms and legs too weak to lift him. Instead of walking upright it crawls and burns everything in it’s wake. According to the Scouts they believe that Rod is an Abnormal Titan.

Historia is asked by Hange if she’s okay with her father being killed. Considering the fact that a Titan of that size must be killed. If find the attachment between Historia and Rod to be weak. It’s really unconvincing to me that she would sincerely care about him. However, she accepts that her father must die.

This episode wasn’t really as entertaining or interesting as the previous ones. That’s no real issue, all episodes don’t need to be spectacular. Mostly the episode felt slow and there wasn’t anything new revealed. Regardless, I’m curious why Erwin won’t evacuate the civilians, the next episode is going to be very interesting.

Attack on Titan Episode 7 Review: Wish

Rod Reiss gives Historia hope that she can “meet” her sister. He claims that she’s not “entirely dead” he takes out a syringe that Eren quickly recognizes and begins to panic. Meanwhile, the scouts begin their assault on Chapel and the Anti-Personnel Control Squad. The doors open, then the scouts roll barrels of gunpowder down the stairs. Levi and the other enter. Sasha uses her bow and arrow skills to shoot the barrels with fire arrows.

Using signal flares, they are able to create a smokescreen. Levi quickly counts the numbers of Anti-Personnel Squad-members (35). Armin informs the others of the weakness of their Anti-Personnel ODM because it “requires that they fire in the same direction they intend to shoot their anchors, so they are unable to attack someone directly behind them.” Jean and Conny both get their first human kills, signalling a major change in the series as particularly Jean was apprehensive to do so.

Unsurprisingly, Mikasa and Levi overwhelm the Control Squad, taking out several of them each. Kenny attacks Levi, who then manages to wound Kenny in the stomach. Kenny flees. Hange approaches Caven. She manages to shoot Hange in the shoulder with her ODM gear piercing Hange’s shoulder. She then throws Hange against one of the crystal pillars. While, Attack on Titan is know for killing off main characters, I don’t think THIS is will be the moment that Hange will die. Caven takes this moment to flee with her squad.

We finally get to see what happened in the past. Basically, a titan created the cavern, the 3 walls and altered peoples minds. When Frieda was 15 she ate her uncle and inherited the Founding Titan and memories of the of the old world. This process has been repeated over and over in the Reiss Family. He claims that Grisha stole this power from Frieda and “gave” it to Eren, who lacks the Reiss blood and cannot make it work properly.

Kenny is upset once he here’s this. Disappointed that he cannot become a titan and eat Eren, he pulls his gun on Rod. Up until this point Historia was buying what Rod was telling her, but Kenny throws a wrench into it. He asks Historia “if she remembers everything Rod has done to her,” and that “the only thing Rod cares about is her blood because he does not want to become a Titan himself.”

If it’s not obvious, Rod is clearly a coward. He positions himself as some sort of steward of his families control over the titan power. Considering how quickly he goes to get his Historia after his families massacre is questionable. Regardless, Rod encourages Historia to inject the syringe and become a titan and eat Eren.

She’s hesitant and realizes that Eren hasn’t transformed yet. She asks him why and Eren begins to cry and explains that “they would not be in this position if his father had not come here five years ago.” He recalls all the “costs” that Frieda’s death resulted in. Eren has his moments in this series and sometimes if find his emotional complexity endearing. However, he can be needless self-deprecating and it can become annoying.

Historia changes her mind as she remembers Ymir. She throws the syringe to the ground and begins to free Eren as he begs her to eat him to stop everyone’s suffering. She pulls out the first set of chains as she tells him that “that she wants nothing to do with exterminating the Titans. Let humanity get wiped out.” Rod begins to crawl his way toward the puddle and licks it, turning himself into a Titan.

I’m glad to see Historia come to he senses. I predict that Eren should transform to save himself from Rod, but in the state that he’s in maybe not. I’m assume of course that Rod would be a mindless Titan, which could mean that he attacks Kenny and the control squad as well. Being an “ordinary” titan should make him easy to kill anyway.

 

Attack on Titan Episode 6 Review: Sin

In the underground chapel built by the Reiss family, Historia reveals to Eren that “everything is all right,” and that her father is “an ally of humanity.” An ally despite the issues he caused for the Scouts, the murder of Pastor Nick and Dimo Reeves. I like Historia but she is rather naive to believe that he father is an ally of anyone but himself. Considering her childhood I think that she really wants to believe that her father is sincere so that she can have a family. Regardless, Rod decides that he will explain it everything to Eren. Having himself and Historia place their hands on Eren triggers memories from Grisha Yeager (Eren’s father). These memories depict Grisha’s “sin.”

Historia recovers some of her memories after touching Eren and realizes that she wasn’t alone as a child, but a dark haired young woman helped her and taught her to read. Rod tells her that woman was his daughter Frieda and she was Historia’s half-sister. Grisha’s sin was the killing of Frieda Reiss. He reveals that Grisha killed Rod’s entire family after he ate her. Gaining the Power of the Titans from Frieda. Grisha has been a mysterious figure in Attack on Titan. It’s stunning how monstrous he turns out to be or was he. Was the Reiss family really for humanity or for their own power? I’m betting their own power. We also learn how Eren received his powers, he ate his father. Knowing Eren this truth is going to weigh on him for some time even if it was an accident. However, considering his fathers knowledge of titans, I get the suspicion that he wanted Eren to eat him.

Kenny the Ripper interrupts them, telling them of the coup. Kenny seems to be subservient towards Rod, whom he calls King. Rod orders him to prepare for the Scouts to arrive. Meanwhile, we see how Zachary plans to treat the nobles, torture them. Basically he strips one naked and feeds him from the “bottom up.” It’s all quiet grotesque but I have no sympathy for the noble anyway, so I don’t care. It also turns out that Erwin’s father was right, the Royal family has the ability to erase memories. Of course certain bloodlines are immune to it’s effects. The nobles are telling all these secrets because they expect that no one will remember anyway.

The scouts prepare to get Eren and Historia. Armin, Mikasa and the others contemplate what their plan should be. Kenny is considered by Levi to be their biggest obstacle. He states that it would be smart for them to consider Kenny the “enemy version of him,” but “deadlier.” We finally get more clarification on Levi and Mikasa relationship with Kenny. Mikasa reveals that her dad did tell her that the Ackermann family had been persecuted. Levi asks her about a moment when she felt a “hidden power,” she says that she had. Levi states that both himself and Kenny felt it as well. In a flashback from Kenny we see that the Ackermann family use to be the warriors that protected the King.

Kenny’s grandfather tells him that the King does hate them, but he can’t control them. The Ackermann family and the Oriental Clan are immune to the King memory erasing power. This all of course makes sense. Mikasa, Levi and Kenny are clearly among the best warriors in the series, the fact that they are also immune to the King’s power does add some comfort. I be interested in seeing if Kenny and Mikasa face off. The scouts arrive at the chapel and prepare for a fight, meanwhile, the Military police are already prepared to greet them. The series has scaled back on the action in favor of more world building, it appears that the next episode will see Attack on Titan return to that action. Which is great, I was starting to miss it.

Attack on Titan Episode 5 Review: Reply

This episode largely takes place in the throne room. Erwin makes a impassioned plea for the value of the Scout Regiment. The nobles seem to be hasty in their decision to disband the scouts. The Scout Regiment are the branch of the Military that faces off against the Titans the most and they do so deliberately. It features the best soldiers and have the best at using omni-directional mobility gear. Disbanding without having a replacement is short sighted and will cost everyone at some point if implemented.

Erwin claims that if “Wall Rose was breached, its residents would take refuge in Wall Sina again, but the earlier evacuation decimated their stockpiles. This time the residents would be forced to fight for resources and a civil war would erupt between Wall Rose and Wall Sina. Furthermore, Wall Rose is always suffering from a food shortage, so the best way to avoid war is to reclaim Wall Maria. It is the duty of the Scouts to charge at the enemy.” The nobles don’t care, avoiding answering whether they have a better plan to deal with the Titans.

Aurille instead focuses on Erwin’s violation of the “Charter of Humanity,” which reads: “Thou shall not prioritize one’s own gain over the longevity of humanity.” Erwin’s refusal to hand over Eren to the Military has resulted in the Charter being violated. Predictably, he’s sentenced to death. Nile Dawk’s sort of represents the audience here, I think that many of us watching shared his confusion. As Erwin is being lifted to his feet, Anka Rheinberger enters the thrown room and states a clearly false claim that the “the Colossal and Armored Titans have broken through both gates of Calaneth District. The reaction from the nobles is predictable as they demand the gate be closed, leaving half of humanity to death.

Nile disobeys the order, stating that he’s “a human of Wall Rose and he will not allow the gates to be closed.” Dhalis Zachary arrives with armed soldiers. He reveals that the report was false. Pyxis admits that he orchestrated the plan. What surprised me about Pyxis confession is that he was willing to let Erwin die, if the Government made a better choice for humanity. He declares a “coup d’etat.” This moment illustrates how the real power tends to be with the Military forces, after all they have the guns right.

The most surprising thing about this scene in the throne room is the incompetence of the “King” Fritz. His personality and psychical appearance gave off the impression that he was a ruler not to be messed with. It turns out that he was actually asleep with his eyes open. This episode plays with this fact by constantly showing him motionless over and over again. At first I assumed he wasn’t threatened, then I though he might have been dead and propped up somehow, the truth is played for laughs as when he is woken up by Aurille he’s ask if “it’s time to eat.”

So far each episode has solve some mysteries while creating new ones. This episode is no different. Hange explains the report that Erwin gave her. 5 years prior, the Reiss family save Rod Reiss were killed by bandits while praying in a Church. Rod found Historia right after they were killed. Levi concludes that there must be something in the blood of Reiss family. Hange suggests that the story doesn’t add up. The chapel was destroyed even though it was made of stone. Personally, I think he may have had his family killed, destroying the chapel to cover his tracks.

Finally, we see that Eren is chained in the Underground Chapel. I’ve mention before that Eren constantly getting captured seems to be a theme in this series. However, I wonder if the series is trying to turn the “Damsel in Distress,” motif on it head, by constantly having Eren (a male) getting kidnapped and being saved by Mikasa (a female). Anyway, Armin wonders that if “a Titan gains the powers of a person who can change into a Titan by eating them, then when did Eren become a Titan and who did he eat?” I don’t know if that’s how Eren got his powers. Considering their closeness from childhood wouldn’t Eren tell him he ate a Titan?

Attack on Titan Episode 4 Review: Trust

The last episode of Attack on Titan was important to expanding the background of characters Erwin and Historia. It also was dark, draining any since of hope from the series. This episode injects some hope back into it. Marlo Freudenberg and Hitch Dreyse are searching for the scouts in the woods, Marlo questions why the scouts would kill a civilian and flee. Considering the fact that they always risk their lives for humanity against the Titans. If you don’t remember, Marlo and Hitch were featured earlier in the series, in episode 23, entitled Smile: Assault on Stohess, Part 1. In that episode Marlo claims to have joined the Military Police “to uphold justice and do what’s right.” He’s mocked for this goal by Hitch, but seems sincere when he tries to stop some of superiors while they illegally sell ODM gear.

Anyway, They see Armin taking water from the river. Taking the bait when he surrenders, they are quickly ambushed by Mikasa and Levi. Marlo represents the theme of this episode the governments “truth” is starting to unravel. Nile Dawk tells two journalists that “judging by the evidence,” the scouts did kill a civilian. The younger journalist seems to be more interested in getting all the details, but is cut off by the older one. Dawk shows a concern that the new ODM gear is “perfect for killing people,” in particular scouts. He concludes that the Military Police will likely find themselves staring down their guns eventually.

Flegel Reeves is being chased by the Military Police, he’s chased into a dead end alley, but is rescued by Hange. She tries to get him to stand up against the government, which he is unwilling to do. Hitch is still concerned about Annie going missing, Levi informs her that Annie was the Titan. He decries the fact that ” Nobody knows a damn thing about this world . . . Not us or anyone else.” This is true of course, but is also the goal of the government. The government deliberately miss informs and keeps secrets from the Military Police and civilians. They can’t stop something if you don’t know what going on right.

Marlo asks to join Levi, but he’s rebuffed. Jean asks to tie them up himself, he “attacks” them. I’ll admit that considering Attack on Titans dark theme’s and event that have transpired, I almost thought Jean was going to kill them. However, Jean has always represented the humor in this series (along with Hange). He mocks Marlo for his terrible ” Bowl cut” hair style. Marlo quickly understands that it was a test. Marlo and Hitch aid the scouts in finding the checkpoint, and are told to return to their squad. The scouts take the checkpoint, taking the leader. Levi tortures him but only learns the last name of Kenny, Ackermann. Which is also the last name of Mikasa. There’s no way that she’s not related to Kenny, the question I have is Levi related to her as well.

Finally, Flegel gets “caught” by the Military Police. He gets them to give him a death wish, tell him why his father was killed. It was obvious that he would get the Police to reveal what really happened, but I was surprised that so many civilians witnessed it, as well as the previously mentioned journalists. However, can Flegel be the boss if the Military Police and the government know he’s a witness? Won’t they kill him and all the civilians anyway? Maybe the civilians, journalists and the Reeves family can start a resistance within the walls. The episode ends with Erwin telling Dawk that “When, and if the time comes, he will only watch,” and that “it’s up to you (Dawk) to decide. You and them.” Erwin is clearly going to be heading for execution the question is will it happen?

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 3 Review: Old Story

In contrast to the last episode, this one entitled “Old Story” may seem slow, but I think it’s has more impact. In typical Attack on Titan fashion the stories told aren’t uplifting but rather dark. We start with Historia. She tells the scouts that she was born on the land owned by the Reiss family. This episode focuses on the negative effects parents in the series had on their children. Historia’s mother (if we can call her that), literally goes out of he way not to speak to her daughter. Her mother simply reads a lot, while ignoring her. When Historia tries to emulate her mothers reading she realizes through the stories that her relationship to mother is uncaring. When finally makes physical contact with her mother, she’s meet with a violent reaction.

Her mother then utters her first words to her daughter, “if only I had the courage to kill the girl.” Her mother then leaves for fives years only to return with Rod Reiss. He admits to being her father but the government intervenes. Father leaves her mother for death and Historia’s mother final words to her daughter is “if only I never had you,” before her throat is slit. Historia’s mother is a very sympathetic character, so her death didn’t really bother me. However, the reason for her death was clear due to having a daughter with Rod Reiss. Basic giving birth to Historia cost her, her life and she likely knew that it was always going to. Her behavior toward Historia seems reasonable in that context. I don’t know how redeeming Lord Reiss “saving,” of Historia is, and I don’t trust that he truly cares for her to be improbable. He’s likely using her to gain something.

Hange reveals to the scout that Eren is likely going to be “eaten.” After overhearing a conversation between Ymir and Bertholdt, we learn that Ymir ate their comrade. Eating a human that turns into a titan, while being a titan may result in that titan reverting back into a human. Hange believes that they will also gain the powers of that titan. Meaning that the government may want to have a titan under their control eat Eren and gain his ability to control other titans. I assumed that they would use Eren’s power to turn into a titan for their own ends, however, that was a ridiculous thing for me to assume considering that Eren would never do that. Killing him, while gaining his power make much more sense.

The third flashback we get is from Commander Erwin. He speaks to Pyxis regarding his desire to “retake Wall Maria and overthrow the government.” Apparently, he plans on doing so without the need for the military or death. That seem implausible but he’s vague as to what the actual plan is. Erwin recounts the story of his fathers death. His father was a history teacher, however, he taught an edited version of that history. He trusted Erwin with the truth and Erwin went a told his classmates. The military found out about it and killed his father. He believed that the the King had the power to alter the memories of the people, making them easier to rule. This is just a theory, but one that Erwin aims to prove.

Erwin elaborates on his plan when Hange returns, the plan is to put Historia on the thrown as she’s the Queen. Hange Zoe becomes the next commander of the Scout Regiment. Meanwhile the scouts are declared enemies of the state, to be arrested on sight. They are accused of being responsible for the death of Mr. Reeves. Considering the fact that Mr. Reeves son is the only living witness he may be the key to aiding the scouts again the government.

I like the way that they used flashbacks, furthermore, the contrast between Historia’s relationship with her mother and Erwin’s relationship with his father is clear. While, Historia’s mother barely communicated with her, Erwin’s father often did, teaching him History during the day and educated him on the truth at night. It is this communication that costs him his life. Both of them are “responsible,” even if by accident for their parents deaths. Erwin has taken this reality and turned it into a mission, it’s unclear what impact Historia’s past has had on her. Finally, with all the betrayals, lies and conspiracies it’s difficult to trust some of the secondary characters. Will Commander Pyxis betray them too? What about Mr. Reeves son? Regardless, another amazing episode.

 

Attack on Titan Season 3, Episode 2 Review: Pain

This episode steps up in it’s intensity. Eren and Historia are quickly tranquilized as Levi gives chance. Levi is quickly attacked by Military Police, lead by Kenny. The chase scene is spectacular, Levi’s skill isn’t surprising but still exciting to witness. Watching Levi and Kenny match wits, Levi outsmarts Kenny. Managing to shoot him with shotgun, although Kenny seem unharmed. Kenny is a odd character, his mannerism are rather relaxed he seemed unfazed by being shot.

Meanwhile, the other scouts hear the commotion. Mikasa finally tells them what Levi told her, “from now on, we’ll be fighting humans, too, and not just Titans.” The shift in dynamic from killing Titans to killing people was always going to be a dramatic shift in the series. It isn’t surprising that many of the characters are apprehensive regarding killing humans. It’s much easier to kill Titans not so much in from a technical standpoint, but from a mental.

Levi tells them that they “can’t hesitate,” when it come time to kill. Of course Jean and Armin struggle with this. After capturing the wagon, Jean does indeed hesitate, but so does the woman aiming her gun at him, it’s Armin that kills her saving him. Despite, Armin’s efforts, the Military police succeed in capturing Eren and Historia. Armin has a profoundly negative physical, emotional and mental reaction. He starts to cry, throw up and lose his appetite.

 

He concludes that “the person he killed must have been a nice person and more human than he is.” Levi tells him to “embrace the new him,” that Armin is the reason that Jean is still alive. This seems to be mild comforting to him. Jean questions the morality of “hurting people,” Levi states that he’s not certain of the morals of his orders. The complexity of characters, their lives and decisions are part of what makes this series so enthralling.

Is it weird that I enjoyed the torture scenes? Probably. The scouts are cleaver in how they manipulate their captives, when physical pain doesn’t work they use the other captive to demoralize the other. This episode has introduced some dread to this season. Armin will clearly struggle with his new experiences.

We find out that Historia is the “true royal successor,” and she with Eren are with Rob Reiss. While Levi was successful at besting Kenny, his team did fail to rescue Eren. I mentioned this before, but it is surprising and refreshing to see that Eren has taken a backseat to other characters. Even-though it is becoming a troupe that Eren gets kidnap so often.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 1 Review: Smoke Signal

Attack on Titan finally returns, this time it looks like titans will not be the only threat to the scouts. This episode increases the stakes and enlarges the world of AOT. Levi takes the lead, as our primary protagonists become members of Levi’s squad. The protection of Eren and Historia is now paramount. The first episode shifts focuses from Eren, to larger threats. Eren and the others hide out in a cabin as they recover from injuries from the battle with the titans.

Eren has become an important part of a plan to “rebuilding the damaged walls,” with Hange (one of my favorite characters) in charge of the experiments. Eren’s titan form in weirdly short and emaciated. When pulling Eren out of his titan form part of his face is torn off, leaving part of his skull expose. This is dark humor played for laughs that Hange often creates in this series, of course Eren isn’t in danger and will heal.

In Trost, Pastor Nick is murdered. Having given the scouts information, he’s tortured, but doesn’t give up any information. However, it’s clear that Levi’s squad is a target. With the military police aiming for the scouts, it starts to become clear that the government is up to something. They have frozen the activity of scouts outside the walls, arrested Erwin and have demanded Eren and Historia be turned over. The government has always been portrayed as corrupted, but now they’re murdering innocent people.

Hange heads off to save Erwin, while, Levi takes off with her remaining scouts. Levi and the others head into Trost with a plan. Eren and Historia are abducted, but it turns out that they are impostors. Armin and Jean have replaced Historia and Eren respectively. Mikasa and the others quickly rescue them, as Levi heads to meet with Eren. Before he does he give Mikasa a message to tell the other, it’s not made clear what he says though.

Finally, as the carriage carrying Eren and Historia is stalled, Levi is unsettled. He asks Nifa if she’s heard of “Kenny the Ripper, a mass murderer who slit the throats of a hundred MPs in the capital.” Levi says that he lived with him as a child. Kenny sneaks up on then killing Nifa, his many followers prepare to attack as does Levi. I like the shift from Eren and Titan focuses, to focusing on a corrupted government and large conspiracy. While this episode starts off slowly and end before the action, I thought the shift was needed to set up the new threats. This episode provided a great start and with 23 episodes remaining I can’t wait.