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‘Attack on Titan’ anime ends on bittersweet note after 10 year run

Screenshot from ‘Attack on Titan The Final Chapters Sepcial 2’ trailer | Crunchyroll

10 years after the airing of its first episode, the “Attack on Titan” anime has concluded. Avid manga readers have long been knowledgeable of its ending, while anime watchers have had to restrain themselves from reading the source material to avoid spoilers.

Prior to the airing of the final episode, ‘Attack on Titan’ creator Hajime Isayama  received mixed reviews and harsh criticism about the ending from fans.

“I’m not one of the serious haters, but I can absolutely see why people are mad,” a Reddit user said. , “A lot of the rumbling arc is pretty mediocre, and while I was fine with that, what really got me thinking again was the final conversation between Eren and Armin. Like everyone else is saying, it completely muddies Eren’s character, and that’s obviously pretty bad considering his character’s been the highlight of the series for the past few years.”

While similar sentiment is shared throughout the fandom, there are those who argue in favor of the ending because it highlights the nature of humanity, war, conflict, and the adversity one must go through to obtain “freedom.”

One of the episode’s many highlights included  an apocalyptic scene where the rumbling leads a horde of people towards a cliff. In the process, people are passing back a baby in hopes to save it from its inevitable death.

This was one of the key scenes that many fans were enthusiastic to see animated and were left more than satisfied as studio MAPPA chose to animate the baby using color while keeping the rest of the frame in black in white, compared to the original manga drawing that was in black and white only. This artistic decision further added to the utter despair and remnants of hope that the people still had.Even though there was no point in saving the baby, they still hoped for a miracle.

The ending also saw the reappearance of beloved characters such as Bertholdt, Ymir, and Porco in their titan forms as they aided the scouts to defeat generations of past titan shifters.

Furthermore, the action sequences where even more intricate and filled with adrenaline as the animator Arifumi Imai, who had previously animated Levi’s iconic battle against Kenny, came back to deliver another impactful sequence that showed Levi assisting Mikasa in defeating Eren.

A previously debated scene from the manga that saw redemption in its anime adaptation was the last conversation between Armin and Eren. It had been criticized and labeled as unnecessary for Eren’s character arc, however, it added to Eren’s humanity as it reminded viewers that there was a human behind the monster.

The inclusion of new dialogue also added a bittersweet conclusion to both Eren and Armin’s journey in their fight for Paradis Island.

Finally, Eren’s death scene saw Mikasa make the decision to ultimately kill Eren. It was revealed through Eren and Armins’ conversation that killing him was the only way to free Eldians from the curse of Ymir. The moment Eren opened his eyes for the last time to see Mikasa was a callback to the first episode as Mikasa whispered the words, “See you later, Eren.”

The credit scenes reveal that the island’s inhabitants live in peace for the next 2,000 years. While some may disagree with the eventual fall of Paradis, one must remember that Eren’s ultimate goal was to ensure his loved ones lived long and happy lives.

As always it is a reminder that history will repeat itself and as Erwin best said, “Humanity will never stop fighting itself until it shrinks to a size of one or fewer.”

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