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Review: ‘Attack on Titan: The Final Chapters’ delivers superb send-off

Long-awaited finale wraps up fan-favorite anime
Courtesy of MAPPA.

MAPPA continued its blockbuster 2023 with the release of “Attack on Titan: The Final Chapters” on Saturday, Nov. 4. The 85-minute episode officially concludes the anime after 10 years and covers chapters 135-139 of the manga.

Attack on Titan last left off with “The Rumbling,” an hour-long special highlighting Eren Yeager’s (Yuki Kaji) plan to eliminate all people outside of Eldia, Eren’s home island. The long-awaited episode brutally captured the horrors and cruelty of thousands of colossal titans marching throughout cities and towns, destroying everything in their path. Eren’s closest friends in the Survey Corps, including Mikasa Ackerman (Yui Ishikawa) and Armin Arlert (Marina Inoue), were last seen attacking his titan body to halt the rampage. It built even more anticipation for the ending in the seven months since, and left fans on the edge of their seats. 

The main battle provides brilliantly directed omni-directional movement (ODM) gear scenes, on the level of WIT studio’s adaptations for the first three seasons. The CGI used for the titans improved dramatically since Season 4: Part One, with smoother combat and movement, and the animation makes the violence oddly beautiful. Fighting inside Eren’s rib cage with heavenly light seeping in through the gaps in his bones was contrasted by fiery red destruction underneath. This symbolizes Eren’s initial dream of the world outside Eldia, and his disappointment by the reality of the planet. 

The episode perfectly wraps up the morality issues the series tackled as well. The cause of Eren’s rumbling plan is the world’s racism against the people of Eldia, subjects of Ymir Fritz, the Founder of all Titans. Eren decided the only way to save his people was to kill everyone else. As absurd as his plan is, it sparked debate in the anime community on whether it’s the right choice. Creator Hajime Isayama ultimately shows his anti-war perspective, as neither side benefits from the rumbling, yet millions of people die. 

Characterization is also a highlight of the finale. Armin has to overcome his own self-deprecation to live up to his position as commander of the Survey Corps, Eldia’s fighting force. Mikasa has to put aside her love for Eren for the survival of humanity. Captain Levi Ackerman (Hiroshi Kamiya) needs to fulfill former commander Erwin Smith’s final request of slaying the Beast Titan, just to name a few. The episode takes fans through all these internal monologues and struggles between balancing personal stakes and the greater good of humanity, deepening fans’ emotional attachment to the cast and adding meaningful depth to the characters’ past actions and regrets. 

“Attack on Titan: The Final Chapters” was well worth the wait, delivering an outstanding finale. MAPPA followed the manga exactly, despite fans speculating an anime-only ending. The adaptation deserves a 9.5 out of 10 for its beautiful animation and amazing handling of dark themes and moral dilemmas. 

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