Attack on Titan returned for the second last episode of the season with an epic episode that had a variety of audiences satisfied to the fullest. The explosive content crammed tightly into this episode is the reason that we had basically entirely lacklustre content in both episode 8 and episode 9. This episode combined the, to be expected, fantastic action with rare compelling character moments for a large majority of our cast. There was even some clever foreshadowing with Ymir’s dialogue in this episode that caught my eye as an elitist manga reader scumbag. Overall this episode was very likely my second favourite episode of the entire season only behind the monster reveal that was episode 6, but I have a special feeling that the contents of next week’s episode could rival both of those episodes if handled properly.
Firstly let’s cover the thrilling and creative action sequences featured in this episode. The excellent action chorography was all thanks to the animation team because none of these action scenes were as fleshed out or entertaining in the manga. Two scenes in particular spring into mind from this episode in relation to action, and one of these scenes is the one, in which there’s clever a moment with a horse riding in and helplessly knocking a member of the scouts into instant titan death. The other is the one in which Mikasa swiftly avoids all the approaching titans and makes it to Eren and Bertolt. Both these scenes were accompanied by beautiful animation that only highlighted their effectiveness. That scene featuring Mikasa was also followed by a nearly earth-shattering death scare for Mikasa which would have been pretty amazing if I wasn’t aware of everything going on.
The awesome action scenes in this episode were purely created, from scratch, by the animation studio, but the more important, compelling character scenes were all masterfully adapted from Isayama’s manga. Mikasa who, up until this point, was a very bland one sided character shows inner conflict and depth when, once again, she shows sympathy to Bertolt after his speech and fails to kill him. Bertolt causes the best scene in the episode, and maybe season, when he reaches his breaking point and demonstrates that there is more going one with his characters and highlights the human side of him but it’s also established through Armin that he is loyal to Annie. Armin demonstrates the darker side of his personality when he manipulates Bertolt into fully losing his cool and shows his willingness to manipulate people for his goals by bending the truth. (Annie isn’t being tortured by the way, I have seen a lot of confusion surrounding that. She is still sealed inside that crystal and is incapable of being harmed) Historia demonstrates her true motivations and goals when she establishes the extent of her devotion to Ymir. Erwin demonstrates his resilience and how much he believes in what he preaches when he is first mauled by a titan, then returns later in the episode to single-handedly retrieve Eren. Even Jean has a small character moment when he saves Mikasa from the aforementioned death scare, reinforcing his previously established feelings for Mikasa. All this intertwined by the additional action scenes truly improve all these moments from there manga counterparts.
Ultimately this episode gets an 8. This is because of the combination of stunningly animated and creative action sequences and the thrilling character moments from a series that sorely has been in need of some. Sadly next week will officially mark the final episode of this season and boy will I miss this show when it disappears again for an undetermined period of time.