Check out last week’s Episode 21 Review here.
Oh man, this show is an absolute masterpiece.
I am not even joking, I love it.
It gives me A Song of Ice and Fire vibes with the political scheming and examination of the human psyche.
An accurate portrayal of what war does to people, and the ugly truth behind propaganda and superpowers. Mixed with some magic a la PATHs, it’s become one of my favorite anime series.
Which is surprising, and completely caught me off guard. I was hesitant to begin reviewing this series, as I’d always liked it but never enough to understand the hype. Then again, anything that is hype and runs into main stream territory (One Punch Man, Kill la Kill, etc.) usually does nothing for me.
This is what Tokyo Ghoul should have been.
The caliber, effort, and attention to detail Wit Studio and Isayama-sensei put into this adaptation is magnificent.
I don’t even mind that the studio took their time adapting the series, filtering in foreshadowing and little nuggets of information that Isayama wasn’t able to add to the manga.
It’s even more surprising when you realize that between the first two seasons scarcely six months has passed.
I even spent weeks falling down a rabbit hole of theories, conspiracies, and foreshadowing that is layered about the series. It truly is god-level tier, and I am going to enjoy the full re-read I plan on doing in the coming weeks.
This show deserves all of the success it has received, and the mangaka and adaptation studios (the main one and those that helped out) deserve all the accolades in the world for their hard work.
Word through the grapevine is that a new studio will be adapting the final season for 2020, so hopefully that doesn’t change the quality of the story too much.
With the praise out of the way, I just wanted to talk a bit about the episode before wrapping this final review up.
So, the past two (late) reviews I’ve written today have talked about PATHs, and the unconscious connection all Eldians share between one another. I can’t help but notice the character’s keep mentioning the past repeating in an endless loop.
This time it was brought up by one of the reporters who lives in Wall Sina.
I have to wonder, do they all unconsciously feel it?
Especially now that they are beginning to panic at the realization that the rest of the world wants them dead. That they currently have no allies, and their society is still stuck in the stone ages technology wise?
Then there was the issue of Floch. Again. At a military funeral.
Again, as I mentioned in the Midnight Sun review, I am so conflicted on his character. I mean on one hand, he is right in his feelings. On the other hand though, he is an outsider.
We haven’t seen his struggles like we have seen Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi, Hange and the rest of the 104th cadets.
Floch didn’t join the military with Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt. He wasn’t friends with those people. And he didn’t have to struggle with the internalized guilt and dread associated with killing a comrade, a friend – even if they were on the wrong side.
Hell, if there really are good and bad sides in this show anymore.
Little kids are being killed for leaving internment camps. Little kids are brainwashed and trained to wield titans and commit acts of genocide.
Kids in general never get the chance to grow up – for fear of being killed by the enemy, for fear of actually living.
The way Eldia, Marley, and the rest of the world has been living thus far is unfair.
They are all taking turns being on top, to destroy one another and see who can inflict the most damage. And then, the cycle just continues. Citizens have more babies, which are given to the army.
The babies grow up to be kids brainwashed by toxic ideologies, and next thing you know they are on a suicide charge while a mentally ill man in his twenties copes with their senseless deaths by pretending he is playing baseball.
I mean seriously, what are we all doing here?
I can commend Floch on wanting the Survey Corps to be honest about the dire situation, but if I remember correctly when Eren’s group took the oath they were told the realities. So no one thought they were going into a cushy position like the Military Police. Nor do I remember anyone twisting Marlo’s arm to join.
He wanted to be a part of humanity’s greatest moment – and he was.
It sucks that he died, and yes, he may have regretted it in that moment, but Hitch, the Military Police, and everyone else behind those walls are safe and still alive because of the Survey Corps.
So although I can understand his feelings, after all he is on the outside looking in, he should have kept his mouth shut.
Not everyone is going to like the Survey Corps, and they have always received the short end of the stick but knowing the truth is far greater than sticking your heads in the sand and then one day having the nerve to be surprised and afraid when Marley finally does show up to exterminate you all.
They wouldn’t even know the enemies names if it weren’t for the Survey Corps sacrifices – from all of the regiments who brought them to this point.
Hell, I will even add the Eldian Restorationists to this list of people who paved the way for this discovery. Since after all, they were sent to a tormented existence only to be murdered by the very people they wanted to be set free.
In short, it was rude of him to besmirch Marlo’s memory as that of a fool who didn’t know what he was getting into in his last moments to his close friend. That was fucked up, and Floch should have kept his mouth shut concerning his brand of honesty.
Levi’s uncle Kenny said it best: everyone has to be drunk off of something to survive. You can’t take away someone’s hope, even if the truth is less than convenient. You cannot just erase the impact of everyone who died, for the sake of protecting your own feelings regarding your own choice to join the Scouts.
Then again, Floch is an outsider. He wasn’t there during the Fall of Shiganshina, the Battle of Trost, battling the Female Titan, The Uprising Arc.
He doesn’t know how much Armin has struggled with his self-esteem, or how his brilliant plans have saved their asses more than once.
(Does he even know it was Armin’s idea to check the walls before the last battle? Did he read the report and still say all of that nonsense?)
He doesn’t know that Armin used to get his ass beat almost daily for telling secrets of the outside world. He doesn’t know that his parents were killed because of those very secrets.
He doesn’t understand why Jean and Connie stayed back and didn’t get involved in the struggle, not wanting to take sides.
I forgot who mentioned it this episode (mainly because I went on a tangent about Floch lol) but the perception of a human and a devil depends on the person.
To the Survey Corps, Commander Erwin Smith was their savior. He led them into great battles, and cadets gladly gave their life because they believed in his cause.
Only for us, the audience, to find out he is a selfish manipulator who has to keep swindling the cadets into fighting on – despite feeling terrible about it and exhibiting some serious survivors guilt.
To Floch, he was a monster. One of the devils on Paradis Island that Marley would see if they looked at him. He doesn’t know their struggles and even if he heard stories, would you really believe everything you heard?
The Survey Corps have had truly supernatural feats and walked out of those situations more or less alive.
And yet, not everyone will believe that – even if the information is staring at them in the morning newspaper.
The last segment of the episode cements the fact that Floch is an outsider.
Commander Hange, Levi, and the rest notify the later-arriving soldiers that there is a titan nearby, but no one stops to kill it. They know it’s a human, and it’s been there so long trees are starting to grow in its path.
It is a threat to no one.
Eren even reaches out and reads its memories via PATHS, and the titan seems to react given the flicker of his eyes. Everyone felt sympathy for the creature, and decided to ride on. Floch was the only one disgusted and confused as to why they weren’t killing it.
It was a titan, after all. Their enemy. Why aren’t the Survey Corps, who specifically go out to murder these things – killing it?
He didn’t get it, and that was the entire point of the military funeral outburst. Floch doesn’t get it. Neither do the rest of the onlookers. Only the core group and to some extent, the audience.
And that’s okay.
That is why I really enjoy this show. The intricate nuances of the characters is what makes it for me. The fact that not everything is told to you, but it is damn sure shown.
The cadets have evolved. Eren has evolved. They are no longer the naïve, loud mouthed kids excited to move up the ranks quickly and kill a bunch of titans for glory.
(Will Eren Yeager destroy the world?)
They are scared, uncertain of the future and questioning that if the world wants them to die – should they really exist? Do they have a right to exist, despite not benefiting in the slightest from the past atrocities of their empire?
That they literally had no clue the world has been trying to kill them for a century over.
I can’t wait for the climax of this series, and will be following the manga privately.
Thank you all for reading this series, and bearing with me!
I don’t have any anime reviews planned for the summer season. Well, except a review of Shinkai’s new film, Tenki no Ko when it premieres. Fall 2019 is looking a lot better in terms of sequels for shows I watch, but we’ll see what happens.
We are also creating East Asian pop culture inspired designs for fellow fans, Visit our Redbubble store if you have a chance – you get cool gear, and it helps support the blog!
☆ In Asian Spaces