If you’ve been following Attack on Titan from season 1, your wildest imagination couldn’t have predicted that the course of the story would end up where it is now. Season 4 is so different in style and tone that it’s like watching a completely different show.
This shift in the narrative has been widely appreciated by fans and critics alike. According to Parrot Analytics, the anime series was the most in-demand show in the US in the week of Jan 31 – Feb 06. It had almost a hundred and ten times more demand than the average tv show, outperforming Wandavision, The Mandalorian, and Cobra Kai.
In the finale of season 3, Eren and Co found out that humanity exists beyond the walls and our main characters and people inside the walls are Eldians-- a race despised for their ability to transform into Titans and their purported atrocities against other nations.
On the other hand, season 4 probably has one of the greatest role reversals not just in anime but all of the media. The first episodes focus on Marley and the Eldians who reside there. These Eldians are persecuted and discriminated against by the Marleyan government and its people.
It’s hard not to notice the striking parallels between the new cast and some of the main characters from earlier seasons. Gabi feels like a more cheerful version of Eren while Falco’s personality will remind you of Armin’s. As both sides are pitted against each other in this deadly struggle, you will ask yourself, who the real villains are. The characters you rooted for and loved might not look like the absolute good guys anymore.
The message Hajime Isamaya, the creator of Attack on Titan, is trying to deliver is embedded in the brutality of war. Regardless of sides, right or wrong, war damage all, leaves behind numerous irreparable losses.
The real antagonist is not Eldians or Marleyans but institutionalised bigotry that makes people hate and kill each other. It also shows that people's experience and the geographical location they are born has a major role in moulding their worldview and prejudices.
Breaking out from this prejudice and cycle of hatred is no easy feat, which our main character, Eren Yaegar apparently fails to do. His descent from a boy who wants to avenge his mother’s death and strive for the freedom of his people to a genocidal megalomaniac that wants to annihilate everything in his path to achieve his goal is tragic, to say the least.
Will he be able to redeem himself? Assuming that you haven’t read the manga or haven’t gotten any spoilers, you have to wait till the release of Part 2 of the final season to find out which could be as soon as December 2021.
With the final chapter of the manga being released a few days ago, the saga of Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin), the first issue released on September 9 2009, officially came to an end. For us fans, it almost feels like we grew up along with the main characters, and a chapter of our life has come to an end. Although, given the contents of the final arc, there is a chance we might see an anime original ending.