The second part of the final season of Attack on Titan is finally here! Episode 17 is titled ‘Judgment’, which is exactly what I’m about to pass on the release. Did it live up to my excitement? Let’s dive in and find out!
So, starting with the aesthetics, this was a bit of an odd one for me. The audio was really beautiful. One thing the series has done consistently fantastically from start to finish has been presenting a musical score that enhances scenes rather than just sitting behind the on-screen action. That holds true here too, with the orchestral moments being on par with the series’ previous work. The new opening and ending themes are fine. The opening, ‘The Rumbling’ by SiM is catchy enough, though nowhere near the quality of Linked Horizon’s work on previous seasons. I couldn’t find the name or artist for the new ending theme, but that one is quite beautiful.
The ambient sounds too are great, with the destructive nature of the conflict being given a real sense of realism here. Most importantly though, the voice cast is really good again, putting in as much emotion as you’d hope for. There was not one poor performance among them, which gets the season off to a great start.
Visually, things are a little mixed for me. I really like the pencil-like quality of the colouring this season. It’s very different from the older seasons, but in a way, that gives the season its own identity. There are times that it really shines in the animation department too. Porco’s Jaw Titan looks phenomenal scurrying around and feels really kinetic. Eren too, for the most part, looked pretty good. Meanwhile, the action scenes featuring humans were fast-paced and fairly smooth. There’s no denying that the brutal moments were really well done either, with the mass deaths piling up graphically on screen.
Oddly though, there were moments when things seemed to lose a step in terms of smoothness. Reiner and Eren’s initial battle comes to mind here, and it felt a little rough to me. Similarly, the humans talking sometimes felt like they were given fewer frames of animation than other scenes, which was a shame. By far the biggest issue though was the flying debris. Sometimes, it looks nice and three0dimensional. Other times, it looked flat and seemed to jump across the screen.
Mixed aesthetics aside though, this was a great episode. The story picked up where we left off and we can now see some of the pieces falling in place for the final battle. The key thing to note is that everyone is betraying everyone. Eren is avoiding taking Yelena’s advice and stubbornly fighting on in a battle that leaves him at a disadvantage. Pieck doesn’t trust Marley but trusts her colleagues. Onyankopon doesn’t like Eren and Zeke’s plan and releases the Survey Corps. Hange runs off with Levi, who seems more than a little worse for wear… it’s no wonder Conny was so angry! Speaking of Zeke too, the scene with a mysterious girl rebuilding his body from the ground was intriguing. It’ll be interesting to see what he meant by ‘the paths’ and how it all plays into his ultimate goal.
So, overall, despite some things I wasn’t as keen on visually, I thought MAPPA did really well with this episode. The story is pushing on, the animation shone in its best moments, and the series continues to be an auditory treat.
But what will happen next? Well, my prediction- and bear in mind I haven’t read the manga for this arc, so this may be way off the mark – is this: Eren acquires another Titan. I’m guessing he devours either Pieck or Porco in the next episode. Despite taking a pounding, Yelena’s team will regroup too and that, combined with Eren’s actions, will drive off the Marley forces for now. Levi will survive, at least for the time being, and everyone else will start scheming in the background.
But what about yourselves? Did you enjoy this episode? Do you agree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments below!