Attack on Titan Final Season: Episode 1 – “The Other Side of the Sea”

And Attack on Titan is back with a bang… and almost literally, too. The new opening credits have a strong emphasis on explosions. Are we sure Michael Bay didn’t direct it? LOL! But what I found even more fascinating than that is the fact that there’s so many images of war, yet the music accompanying the images for this new opening is quite upbeat and happy. This dichotomy was rather striking.

It’s established early on in the story that four years have passed since the end of Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2. The story is taking place on the island that is on the other side of the sea that Eren, Armin, and Mikasa were so eager to get to earlier in the series. Marley has been in a four-year war against the Mid-East Allied Forces, who are trying to conquer the island.

We are introduced to several new characters, most of whom are Eldian slaves who are fighting for the Marleyan army. The focus is on the Warrior candidates, and they are competing for the “honor” of inheriting the Armored Titan. There’s a strong emphasis on two of the candidates: Falco and Gabi. Gabi is the most promising of the four candidates, and she comes up with a plan to take down an armored train. Gabi is smart and talented, but she’s also a bit cocky about her abilities. We are also introduced to Colt, Falco’s brother, a Warrior candidate to inherit the Beast Titan. There’s also Galliard and Pieck, but we only see them in their Titan forms in this episode. Near the end of the episode, we see Zeke and Reiner, both of whom end up transforming into their Titan forms and play an important part to bring the current battle to an end. Even though I already knew how much Reiner’s look has changed from reading the manga, it was still a little surprising to see him with this new look in the anime. I’m sure I’ll have the same reaction when I see the new looks for the other characters as well.

Even though there were a lot of new characters to introduce and establish in this episode, the balance between the exposition and the action was perfect. Although, I’m now kind of wishing that I had watched the recap film that FUNimation started streaming not too long ago in order to refresh my memory. Even though I’ve read this section of the manga, it’s been so long since I read it that I was trying to remember various facts about what was happening in this episode. I still had to search for some information on the Internet on an Attack on Titan wiki in order to help jog my memory. I guess I would give this piece of advice to someone trying to jump back into the Attack on Titan anime after the amount of time between the end of Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2 and Attack on Titan Final Season would be this: if you have access to FunimationNow, take the time to watch the recap film before tackling this first episode.

As many already know, a new studio is producing this season of Attack on Titan. I wasn’t sure what to expect in the way of quality and how different it might look compared to previous seasons. I’m happy to say that I think MAPPA did a great job with this episode, and in some cases, I think they may have captured the look of the timeskip better than WIT Studio would have. It’s not to say that WIT Studio would have done a bad job, but from what I’ve read of the manga post timeskip, I think that WIT Studio probably couldn’t have quite captured the “grittier” feel of this section as well as MAPPA seems to have done at this point. Hopefully MAPPA will continue the quality that they’ve set with the first episode of Attack on Titan Final Season.

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