Of crossroads and choices: The world is complex and full of unknowns.
DISCLAIMER: Might contain spoilers and some tease from the manga. Your call!
Quick Recap: Brave Volunteers
Pre-war days. Armin visited Annie enclosed in her crystal and recounted the events that transpired over the years with the dawn of the anti-Marleyan volunteers under the heed of Zeke.
Of a fallen comrade. Jean, Connie and Mikasa paid a visit to Sasha’s grave with Nicolo who seemed to have taken a fascination of the deceased warrior.
Manga Spiel! The episode covered chapters 106 and 107 of the manga. The panels were accurately and precisely depicted in the animation frames.
Author’s Corner: Of inevitable decisions and troubled memories
The episode has a mellow tone of the unspoken miseries of the characters. Using the power of the Attack and Colossal Titans, the Scouts subdued the Marleyan fleet sent to annihilate the island. They gained knowledge on Marley and Zeke’s secret plan to save Eldia. True that their counterattack surprised Marley, but was the war victorious on their end? Immense loss of lives and the infliction of pain and trauma became memories that will haunt them. It becomes a turning point - these decisions shaped the future of both nations. Were they right to have chosen this path? Just like how Annie, Bertholdt and Reiner had no choice but to breach the walls, they were drawn to the edge.
Zooming in to the characters: Of paths and decisions
“But not everyone across the sea was our enemy. If we set aside our labels and see each other as people, we can understand each other.”
Armin. He shares the same sentiments with Eren, though does not approve of the path his friend has trodden to achieve his goal. He, too, had begun to question Eren and his motives - that after these years, Eren had grown and lived for extracting his vengeance to the world and inadvertently drew a line between them. Whereas Eren was steadfast to execute his plans even at the expense of lives trampled on, Armin aims to walk the talk by engaging in diplomatic means to remove the “threat” Paradis pose on to the world - a misconception. That if they look past their nature and settle the indifferences, there could have been a better way of retaliation. Should they have invested their time more on the “less violent” option, where would they be now? Will deaths be prevented? Whereas process needs to be prodded more on decisiveness, results also do matter. Will the outcome be different?
Nicolo. His cold demeanor eventually warmed as he received validation from Sasha with her indulgence to his cooking. An “enemy” across the sea, he found friends inside the walls. He sought for another purpose but had to be crushed by a tragedy.
“The only way to win is to fight.”
Eren. His eyes were tainted with nothing but his resolve to win this war. The world’s perception of them as the “monsters” did not faze him and seemed to have taken a good leverage, much to his satisfaction. “So we’re the bad guys…” So be it. He had gone far from being naïve to seeing the bigger picture, even playing at the hands of his half-brother for their shared purpose. On a lighter note, it cannot be overlooked that he is after his friends’ safety. Knowing Zeke’s plan, he cannot anymore afford to sacrifice the lives of anyone within the walls - Historia, for instance - much more the next generations if this war cannot end now.
Yelena. A devote follower of Zeke whom she regards a “god”, Yelena has to keep going to serve her purpose of honoring the Beast Titan by playing support to Paradis.
Insider story: a peak on the pages
A visitor. Hange caught a talking Eren in his prison cell. “Fight”, he said twice to his reflection in the mirror. Hange seemed bewildered.
Hizuru’s mediation. A representative of one of Eldia’s close nations, Kiyomi Azumabito arrived on Paradis and reunited with the descendant and only hope for Hizuru - Mikasa. By acting as a mediator to Zeke’s plans and with hopes of taking Mikasa in, she agrees to cooperate with Paradis by supplying knowledge and resources in preparing the laid-back island to terrorize the world through the “rumbling”.
Do humans always arrive at the best options? Are there bad choices that by picking them up we become the bad guys? Whereas every day we are called to make decisions, human nature is weak and irrational. Good or bad, it is up to us to justify our choice. Humanity turns the wheel of fate, manipulating the outcome with choices.
What do you think of the characters' resolve? What could have been different? Slide in the comments section to share your thoughts and some theories!
Attack on Titan Final Season new episode releases every Monday, 12:00am JST.
Stay tuned for Episode 10 ("A Sound Argument")!
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