I’ve done it. I managed to make it until season 4 without succumbing to temptation and reading the manga, so I am going into this final season of Attack on Titan almost entirely unspoiled. “The Other Side of the Sea” takes us away from the island and characters we’ve spent the past three seasons with and drops us in the middle (or, rather, the end) of a war zone.
However, not reading the manga means that I was extremely confused when “The Other Side of the Sea” opened to essentially a completely different story. (Although, apparently this is exactly how it went in the manga as well.) Aside from Reiner and Zeke, everyone in this episode is a new character.
Basically, what I’ve been able to learn from browsing episode discussions is that it’s been three years since “The Other Side of the Wall” (which was, in turn, one year after “Attack Titan”). As Marley failed to reclaim the Founding Titan and lost both the Colossal (Bertolt) and the Female (Annie) Titans, other nations have viewed this as a weakness and taken the opportunity to attack, rolling out advanced new anti-Titan technology. The war that we are literally dropped into has been going on for four years.
The four new kids that we’ve met – Falco, Gabi, Udo, and the other one whose name escapes me – are Eldians fighting in the Marleyan army and candidates to inherit Reiner’s Armored Titan powers, whereas Colt is the successor to the Beast Titan; if you remember, Titan shifters only live for 13 years after getting their powers, so both Zeke and Reiner are approaching the end of their time.
Honestly, from Falco’s half-remembered dream about flying around, fighting Titans with swords, and the focus on him in the new ED, I am fairly convinced he will be the chosen candidate. After all, Titans are connected to their past and future hosts’ memories. It also parallels the dream Eren had at the beginning of the series.
It looks like Ymir was the Jaw Titan, and this new Jaw Titan does not look like Ymir, so…did Ymir die? Basically, yes, when Historia saw Ymir’s memories at the end of season 3, there were shots of Ymir tied up to be sacrificed, the way Eren was by Reiss. I should have rewatched this show before the new season.
This episode brings back the ethical debate that was introduced in “That Day”, when we learned the truth of what’s been going on in the world outside Paradis’s walls. Marleyans are still punishing Eldians for crimes committed by their ancestors by using them essentially as human shields in their war, and anti-Eldian propaganda is so strong that Gabi and the others see the residents of Paradis – who were completely ignorant of literally all of their history until a few years ago – and those in the internment zone as different, even though they’re the same people. It’s the same way Bertolt, Reiner, and Annie looked down on everyone else at the beginning of the series.
Then you have a moment like when Falco tried to save one of the enemy soldiers, and all he could do was say things like “don’t touch me” and “I don’t want to be tainted”.
The Eldian discrimination is very tough to swallow, but it’s interesting to note that even the Marleyans are being fed propaganda, as they rejoice that Marley won the war, even though we saw it was almost entirely Eldian soldiers who did the fighting (and dying). I still have hope that we will learn the truth at some point. We’ve heard the Marley propaganda, we’ve seen Grisha’s biased memories, but I still think we haven’t seen everything.
I also still have hope that we’ll see Annie again. Is she still crystallized under the capital?
Attack on Titan has a new studio with this final season, and I must say that MAPPA did a spectacular job. The transformation sequences were phenomenal, particularly Reiner’s, and they were able to adequately portray the horrors of war. The shots of Titans eating people is still as gross as ever, and the blood spatter gives it a new level of horrifying. I feel like “The Other Side of the Sea” may be bloodier than any episode we’ve seen so far.
Is that the first time we’ve seen Zeke use transformation powers like that? It certainly explains what happened to Conny’s village. It’s frightening that he can do it even in human form, though. It makes me anxious.
Also, was that Jean at the end? I know it had to be someone we “know”, considering how they lingered on him, and if you factor in the time skip it could potentially be him. Does that mean the Paradisians have infiltrated Marley?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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