The Other Side Of The Sea
Episode 1 of Attack On Titan Season 4 begins with a surprising bite of tranquility. A solitary soldier called Falco looks up at the battle-torn sky above. Bullets whistle noiselessly past as he suddenly snaps back to reality.
Machine gun fire bursts across the barren landscape as Falco is dragged across no man’s land and into the trenches by a fellow soldier called Colt. The parallels to World War II are obvious, as these soldiers brandish a yellow armband and speak of their 4 year struggles against the Mid-East Allied Forces. They’re nearing the end of their campaign but tellingly, Falco starts mumbling about Titans until he’s doused in water.
These soldiers are looking to take out Fort Slava and alongside Falco are numerous soldiers who all seem to be part of this final test to choose a worthy successor to a big prize. This successor will be the one to take up the mantle of the armored titan.
Gabi is confident it’ll be her while Udo plays up the more geeky member of the group, talking about grades and smarts. They’re all interrupted though when an armored train coughs out the mouth of the fort; the Allied Forces’ new weapon.
Despite having titans in their possession, Commander Makath is not so sure it would be a good idea to rush out into battle. Instead, they prepare the Eldian Unit to attack. There’s 800 brave souls in the trenches and each brace themselves for the slaughter to come. They need to assault and destroy the railroad – which Gabi volunteers to do so herself single-handedly to save these men and women.
She removes her uniform and begins dragging herself across the battlefield. After collapsing on the ground, it turns out all of this is a ploy to blow the armored train. Suddenly she moves and throws the hand grenades under the armored train as bullets spray across the battlefield and this explosion sparks the final assault.
With the train down, the Titans move and this causes the airborne division to deploy their troops too. They absolutely change the game as all the familiar Titans show – including the Cart Titan brandishing machine guns on its back – the focus turns to the fort itself.
The game changes when Reiner and Zeke Jaeger show up with the airborne division. Zeke bites his hand and turns into the Beast Titan, which causes a chain reaction to all those men below who turn into titans too and help overthrow the fort. The rebels strike back though and this leads the Armored Titan and Beast Titan entering game. With anti-titan guns around the perimeter, the Titans eventually team up and thwart the threat.
With the fort taken, the Beast Titan uses his trademark pitch to throw shells at the navy marking the end of this bitter, bloody 4-year war.
As the credits roll, The Mid-East Allied Forces sign a peace treaty with Marley. Only, with the age of Titans coming to an end, they’re pressured to find the Founding Titan before it’s too late.
The Episode Review
The idea to shift the perspective across to these soldiers on the other side of the sea is a good one and definitely hints at some intriguing parallels to World War II. Of course, some of this was on display at the end of the previous season with the armbands and enforced curfews (not to mention the speak of Genocide from the soldiers in charge).
With the final conflict looming, it’s obvious that the Founding Titan is going to play a big part but having not read the manga myself, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. As we’ve seen from last season’s (necessary) sacrifice of Erwin, this show is not afraid to kill off characters and I’d imagine we’ll see a fair amount of bloodshed in the near future.
Those bemoaning the slow start to season 3 will be absolutely loving this bombastic slice of action to kick things off and what a visual treat it was. The CGI titans will undoubtedly be a talking point for many people but to be honest, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment at all.
Attack On Titan comes roaring out the gates with a fantastic opening episode, leaving the door wide open for the rest of the season.