Welcome, one and all, to my continued review series on the final season of Attack on Titan. MAPPA continue to work hard to bring us new episodes, even with all the controversy surrounding fan reactions, and I have to say, this latest effort was a winner for me.
The recently released seventh episode, Assault, was by far the most consistent episode of the season so far for me. With the focus shifting almost entirely to combat, we were treated to a barrage of high octane action. This wasn’t the Scouts dealing with swarms of Titans, it was the now grown-up squad taking the battle to the Titan Shifters in a full-on assault that featured every type of combat we’ve seen so far.
We had ODM Gear vs. Titans, Titans vs. Titans, and even Titans and ODM Gear vs. guns. It all played out at a high pace, with little moments of emotional responses dropped in between scenes to remind us of the human element of it all. By and far, it was Galliard’s Jaw Titan that shone the brightest for me here, scuttling around at speed and providing the biggest challenge for our original hero.
Perhaps most impressive for me was the intelligent layout of the battle. Each time a new challenge erupted, we got just enough to show the threat, then saw the Paradis Island group switch things up enough to combat it. Everything slotted together well but didn’t feel choreographed to the extent of losing the feeling that each person’s actions made sense. This was flashy, but in a way that made sense.
From a story standpoint, a few things stood out for me. First up, the War Hammer Titan. After spending the last episode showing why the Marley contingent was putting such faith in the final Titan Shifter, it was Eren’s ingenuity that saw the monster fall surprisingly quickly, all things considered. That this not only meant making use of an unexpected resource in the form of the Jaw Titan’s mouth but saw the scene dragged out without any hope of it ending any way other than the obvious, made it all the more harrowing as a moment.
Meanwhile, The Beast Titan sat in an unusual spot in the story of the battle. After being strangely absent in the last episode, he finally joined the battle here, only to be taken down with relative ease by Levi. Both the slow arrival and the sheer speed at which Zeke’s shifted form fell was a far cry from what we’ve seen of the Beast Titan before. While shocking deaths aren’t an unusual thing in anime, this felt more like there will be more to it. I’m going to guess Zeke isn’t dead.
We saw Armin’s Colossal Titan for the first time and, if I’m being honest, the design didn’t’ blow me away. It wasn’t different enough from Bertholdt’s to stand out for me. At the same time though, it did mean that when Armin looked down at the dying child that had been caught up in his transformation, it made his comment that this must be the view that Bertholdt saw feel more important. We’ve seen this season that those fighting for Marley truly believe in what they’re doing, and it seemed like this indicated that Bertholdt likely didn’t enjoy this side of war either. It was also worth noting that Armin was very cold in this episode. This is clearly all weighing heavily on him.
And then there was Reiner. Falco and Gabi witness a lot of tragedies here, and in the end, it’s Reiner that they call out to for help. Reiner wants his role in this whole mess to be done, but he just can’t ignore the kids’ cries. His reappearance to end the episode, and so call a halt to Eren eating the Jaw Titan, was very well done. It not only acted as damage control but also showed how important Reiner is to his people. That he responded to Falco and Gabi specifically is also a sign that he isn’t a true villain.
Oh, and let’s not forget… Hange is back! Yay!
I’ve been enjoying the storytelling of the final season so far. Seeing the familiar combat return to the forefront with some nice new twists was really nice though. What we got here were snippets of story interwoven seamlessly with the best action of the season so far. This episode may be favourite of the seven we’ve had. Beautiful, bloody, and brutal, it’s absolutely a triumph for MAPPA in the wake of the criticism thrown their way.