Attack on Titan Review Season 3 Part 2 Episode 6

The Twisted Feelings Created By A Twisted Tale

Attack on Titan - Jean - You've got to be kidding me

Episode 6

I know exactly what emotional impact Attack on Titan was going for this week and I know exactly why it missed the mark for me. While I can respect the effort and I think a lot of people will be happy with how it all unfolded, I end up feeling very much like Armin’s sacrifice in episode 5 has been completely undermined.

Which of course, might very well be the point. Armin formulated a plan, he put it into action, he resigned himself to the outcome, and he held fast right to the end. He as a character had more control over his fate than almost any other this narrative has thrown at us and he didn’t die screaming and pleading for his life or in a puddle of tears and piss. He died a true hero.

Eren threatens Bertholdt - Attack on Titan

Only, Attack on Titan doesn’t really like heroes. Or at least that’s how it seems. It is a world where the horrible and the scheming rise to the top and the honest and noble are beaten down or killed before they have the chance to succeed. So in that sense, undermining everything that happened at the end of episode 5 may very well have been the point in which case it succeeded admirably but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Armin has long been one of the few characters in Attack on Titan I’ve liked and seeing his will getting overthrown like that was pretty depressing.

The choice?

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However, if we take Armin out of the equation, this episode did an excellent job with Levi. Also with Mikasa, and Jean, and Hange, and even Eren. Emotionally each of these characters faced choices that truly have no right answer and all of them have horrendous repercussions if they make the wrong choice and yet each of them, in their own way, stepped up to the plate. It is rare that I say that I admire these characters for anything but their absolute guts in the face of insanity, but episode 6 brought out the best in them even as they almost tore each other apart.

Mikasa - Attack on Titan - Please give it to me.
I don’t think this settled who would win a fight between Levi and Mikasa given the situation but it was still kind of cool to watch.

Armin or Erwin, who to bring back? Erwin, who sacrificed every scout essentially for the chance to maybe bring down the enemy and a chance to peek inside the basement or Armin who sacrificed himself and thought of how to save the others so that they might continue the journey. I kind of agreed with that random scout that Erwin should not escape this hell so easily, but Levi’s point that Erwin was the character they made him be was understood.

Titan Armin - Attack on Titan

So instead of moved or caught up in the story, my head is spinning with all the what-ifs and maybes and questioning each of the character choices up to now and in this moment. The one thing that is true is that this episode was very Attack on Titan. I don’t know how I feel about it. I don’t know if I’ll ever sort out the mess it just created when I think about this situation. I do know though that I’ll be watching the next episode as soon as I can because at this point I just have to know what is in that basement.

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Attack on Titan Review Season 3 Part 2 Episode 5

Just wow.

Eren and Armin - Attack on Titan Season 3

Episode 5

Wow! Ouch! Wow again. And let’s throw an ‘ooh’ in there for good measure.

Yep, episode 5 of Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2 has rendered me effectively speechless and trying to describe the emotional response to this episode results in onomatopoeia, word salad, and mostly inarticulate phrases. Shock, horror, celebration, stunned silence, horror again, utter depression, minor triumph, followed by the stillness that comes from being so confused about how I feel and yet moved nonetheless.

The Beast Titan
A truly hopeless situation and one where there will be no eleventh hour rescue. Regardless of how contrived, this works emotionally.

It isn’t as though the episode is some model of perfection. There’s sections of animation that aren’t as polished as some of the sequences we were getting in season one, the character points are all very much orchestrated as are the emotional notes. It isn’t in the slightest bit subtle as we see the death and disaster roll out before us and other than a moment of excellent timing there’s nothing overly clever about it.

Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2 Episode 5 - Armin
Ouch!

What makes this episode work is that it is the culmination of the all the events leading up to it. Each character moment, whether it is Levi, Armin, Eren, Jean, Bertholdt, Reiner, or the random scout who apparently survived the suicide charge, fits beautifully as the next step in their journey’s even if that step seems to be the end of the line.

Levi - Attack on Titan Season 3
In this moment I finally understood the Levi fandom.

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This is where episodic reviewing is a problem. In terms of spectacle, this episode brought it. Again, it could have been more polished in places, but it looks good enough (significantly better than a lot of anime out there). There’s enough going on to keep the audience hooked and invested with sufficient pauses for the characters to have their moments. However, this episode doesn’t progress plot or the like. It consolidates a sequence of events we’ve been watching and invested in over the last few weeks and as such it nails the perfect emotional climax.

The moment of death – approximately two seconds after this image was captured. Again, ouch.

I’m not going to say what happened, you should just watch it. However, new respect for Levi. That was pretty amazing. Eren gets an incredibly bitter-sweet triumph with a heavy dose of the bitter side of it. And Armin… well, as I said, just watch the episode.

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Attack on Titan Review Season Three Part Two Episode Four

The Last Charge

Levi and Erwin - Attack on Titan Season 3 Part Two

Episode 4

In my review of episode 2, I said there was a real pleasure in seeing the humans occasionally looking like they might come out on top. The key phrase being ‘looking like they might’. See, realistically what hooked me into Attack on Titan in season one was how utterly brutal it was and seeing the humans getting beaten down and driven into a corner. The humans who broke and the humans who stood and fight and the utter indifference the titan showed regardless of the character of the human in front of them.

Simple and yet effective destruction and absolutely devastating to the human characters.

Therefore, it kind of makes sense that episode 4 of season three part two (that is such a mouthful) hit me very much like the very first episode of Attack on Titan. While for a lot of season three (part 1 and now part 2) I’ve been finding reasons to enjoy it again and new respect for the characters, this episode actually managed to bring back the awe and the very real horror of the situation the characters are in.

There were so many moments that just left me breathless and I watched many sections multiple times just to try and absorb and process what had happened. It wasn’t that the episode was fast paced. Arguably, it is quite slow in how it moves forward. It is more that each event is so pivotal to this fight and there’s so many emotions attached with each section that my brain just froze and I had to watch it again.

Titan Eren vs Colossal Titan.
Eren tries to take on the Colossal Titan.

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Whether it was Armin freezing in his role and then throwing the torch to Jean in an act of desperation, Mikasa’s reaction to Eren getting kicked through the air to land atop the wall, the scouts freaking out as yet more groups are wiped out in an instant as the beast titan flung broken boulders at them, or Erwin’s ‘motivating’ speech before the last charge, every single moment just hit hard. Everything is so raw and human as characters faced with an insurmountable challenge either crumble or attempt to rally for a last act of defiance and it is beautifully brutal in its delivery.

I really wish I knew what was with this guy’s hair.

It has been a fair while since I’ve really gotten this swept up in an episode of Attack on Titan but realistically there isn’t a thing about this episode I would change. It just worked. And while we’ll once again have to wait for the next episode to really see the outcome, I’m actually happy for now. I need the time to contemplate and digest and that is the mark of a really solid episode of anything.

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Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2 Episode 3

This world really is cruel, but that’s what makes it such a compelling viewing experience.

Episode 3

Understatement thinking that leaving us mid-battle was going to become the standard this season. Not that there is anything wrong with this episode as it gives us some more Bertholdt and Reiner moments back before they revealed their identities before plunging us back into the battle.

It does feel odd to be getting this kind of back-story now on these two characters who have been there all along, however it does put a new spin on the death of Marco all that time ago and we continue to see that pretty much the world these characters inhabit is just plain horrible. There have been so any moments in Attack on Titan where the phrase ‘that sucks’ has been appropriate and seeing the characters this week and the choices they make and the choices they could have made which were ultimately just as bad, you can’t help but agree with Bertholdt when he points out that the world is ‘cruel’.

For the scouts there is a moment of triumph but also tears as they finally bring down the Armoured titan but even then, what little success it was is momentary before taken from them again. However, even before we realise the futility of their efforts, Conny and Sasha are dealing with the trauma of essentially taking the life of someone they trained with and worked with. This isn’t a nameless titan or an unseen enemy but someone they know very well and they were directly involved in taking him down. While the other characters attempt to remain more detached you can tell the action takes its toll on all of them.

But, there’s no time for processing emotions when you’ve got a colossal titan blowing up and setting fire to the town. Armin might briefly attempt negotiation but what is there really to negotiate in this situation? Neither side intends to change their minds now so the conclusion is decided before they even really begin.

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Despite the very limited progress in terms of time, it feels like a lot happened and to be honest the visual sensation that is the end of this episode (even if the animation was quite what it could have been) is more than enough payoff. There’s something just gut-wrenchingly horrific about the entirety of what is playing out here and the colossal titan flailing about surrounded by the burning buildings that it is using as projectile weapons is kind of the perfect visual to capture the true horror of the entire scenario.

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Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2 Review Episodes 1 + 2

This war is either just getting started – or it’s about to end tragically for everyone.

Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 1

Episode 1

I feel like this is cheating and Attack on Titan should just call it season 4 but whatever, here we are for season 3 part two. As usual the humans are in a terrible situations, titans are terrifying, and every character is walking around like the weight of the world is on their shoulders and every line of dialogue is delivered as if it is the defining moment of the episode. But none of that is new and if you’ve watched Attack on Titan up to this point that isn’t going to make you walk away now.

Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 1

Besides, this episode looks great, the plot seems to be progressing nicely, Eren doesn’t shout, and the hook at the end of the episode to get us to come back for the next episode was pretty spectacular. There’s just very little to complain about as this gives us more of Attack on Titan.

Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 1 - Eren and Armin
Are we just trying to raise a death flag here?

I still have to wonder about the sense of walking past the sleeping titan in the dark and not dealing with it. I just kept thinking as it stared at them creepily in the dark that it could be sending messages or doing anything for all they knew and yet they left an enemy alive behind them. That just seemed to be asking for trouble. Not that it really mattered given they were clearly always going to be walking into trouble.

Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode 1 - Armin

Armin actually got to play an active role for the first time in awhile and I loved his reaction to being put in charge of something. It was a rare amusing moment in Attack on Titan that hit the perfect note and yet didn’t distract from the overall tension of the scene. It’s a shame Mikasa remains pretty much solely Eren’s shadow and seems to still have no personality or life beyond that.

However, the coolest moment of the episode goes to Levi who is very much going with a stab first and ask questions never approach to dealing with the enemy. It may not have actually worked but it was still a definitively cool move.

All and all, here we are for another round of Attack on Titan. Here’s hoping it all works out.

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Episode 2

While this episode is entirely the first part of this massive battle they seem to have set up, at no point does it feel like Attack on Titan is dragging its feet. From Erwin making his decisions and ordering his troops to seeing Levi in action before cutting to the awaited Eren and Reiner rematch with the other scouts ready to make a move, it all comes together beautifully and even while you are waiting for everything to fall apart and the screaming, shouting and dying to kick off again (come on, this is Attack on Titan), there’s a real pleasure in seeing the humans occasionally look like they might come out on top of something.

Erwin - Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode Two
And we’re shouting again.

There were a few moments visually where the titans movements felt really clunky or large groups of people or titans seemed barely animated, however you can kind of see why when you look at the incredibly fluid motion in the second half of the episode. While it isn’t quite as thrilling as the first time seeing the ODM gear in action, it is still pretty awesome to watch and Eren’s fighting style as a titan has become vastly more polished now that he’s a bit more trained and more self-aware.

Eren fighting Reiner - Attack on Titan Season Three Part Two Episode Two

As an episode, about the only issue is that it directly picks up from the previous one and leaves us hanging still in the midst of battle (and I suspect that’s going to be the MO for this season for awhile because it feels like this battle is going to take a lot to get through). Binge watching it would be awesome but waiting a week in between means very limited progress given I’m wondering if we even saw ten minutes of actual conflict play out. This doesn’t actually make this bad, but it is where seasonal watching is at a distinct disadvantage to those who wait for an anime to be completed.

Mikasa and Armin

Still impressed by Eren’s lack of shouting, fairly happy with how events are unfolding, and certainly keen to see what happens next. Attack on Titan’s third season definitely got me hooked back into the story and part two seems to be setting up a pretty spectacular battle here.

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Dropping A Certain Magical Index

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode Review Title Image

A Certain Magical Index Episode 11 Review

Reminder: the poll is now open for you to vote on the best and worst anime of the 2018 Autumn Anime Season. Be sure to jump in and have your say.

I’ve been saying for awhile that at the mid-season I was going to cut this from my watch list. It ended up happening a bit earlier. While watching episode 11 and being bored senseless as Touma and Index went through their usual ‘I’m hungry’ shtick at the airport before we get introduced to the apparent Queen of England and three Princesses who all look totally appropriate for the role.

A Certain Magical Index Episode 11 Touma and Index

After some more exposition and dialogue we get the usual joke about Touma being broke and then we hit the road to find some terrorists. However, it was at that point that my boredom gave way to annoyance.

A Certain Magical Index Episode 11

They introduce the new terrorists the exact same way we were introduced to other random groups who ended up being of no-consequence earlier in the season. See one of the group talking on a phone before we skip over to another and each one does some sort of look or thing to distinguish themselves and once we’ve had a look at each one get some random comedic misadventure that leads to an encounter between one of the terrorists and Touma. 

A Certain Magical Index Episode 11

Cut over to another one who smugly claims she’s going to succeed and then she’s facing our B team of magicians leading into another action sequence. It was sometime around there I killed the episode. I have no interest in these new characters; I barely have any interest left in the ongoing cast. I find it amazing that I will sooner finish watching Conception than even finish one more episode of this show and I realised that Conception might be bad, trash, and fairly poorly written, but at least it hasn’t managed to bore me as much as Index has this season.

So, no season review of this one because I won’t be finishing out the season.

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THE ART OF YOH YOSHINARI ILLUSTRATIONS
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Exposition On A Plane With Index And The Terrorist

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode Review Title Image

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 10 Review

There are fewer things sadder than falling out of love with a franchise but I just have to admit that is where I am with A Certain Magical Index. I’ve put the final decision off until episode 13, but I’m almost certain this one is a drop. What is making it worse though, is that this season is making me really question why I actually even liked this show in the first place.

To go through the issues of this episode would take too long, so let’s just look at the moments that really illustrate why A Certain Magical Index season 3 is failing to really engage. 

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 10

Firstly, we have an encounter between Misaka and Touma at the oh-so-familiar vending machine. That seems great and all. Misaka’s a great character and the vending machine is a staple set piece in the anime at this point. However, what was this scene doing? Really? Other than hoping fans would squee with delight over seeing Misaka was there anything happening in that sequence? Touma asked Misaka not to tell anyone about his amnesia? There were quicker and more logical ways to get to that point. Was it the comedy that was supposed to land as Misaka blushes and actually feeds coins into the vending machine? Because that was most definitely a swing and a miss as the anime continues to undervalue its female characters.

Then we get the scene in Touma’s apartment where he gets the call telling him he needs to go to England. The joke where Touma asks Tsuchimikado to make it quick and so no further information was given before hanging up was actually pretty amusing, so even though from a plot point of view it is maddening because we’re having a scene change for no explained reason, it kind of worked. What doesn’t is that right after that the window is broken as a smoke grenade is lobbed in to the apartment and both Touma and Index are knocked unconscious. 

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 10

That could work if they woke up all surprised by where they are, but instead, through flash backs, we find out they went to the airport, rejected the plane that was organised for them, and took a regular flight to England. So why even knock them out? Could the writer not figure out how to end the scene? 

Then we are finally subjected to terrorists on a plane. Index, we’ve seen terrorists on planes before. So many times. You have to at least be vaguely competent in this one because what you’ve delivered this week is half-hearted at best and what should actually be an interesting transition sequence from one city to the next turns into yet another mangled mess. About the only positive is that Stiyl shows up, in another plane for some reason, and throws some magic around. And again, unless they are just hoping that the mere presence of a character cooler than Touma makes the audience jump in delight there really isn’t anything to this scene.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 10

So positives are few and far between and negatives are overwhelming. This episode isn’t alone in this though as Index has gradually worn away any leeway I was willing to give a franchise I genuinely liked. I’m now at the point where I just have to wonder why they even continue to churn this out.

Then I realise, I’m still watching it. As are a lot of people. So either other people like it more than I do, or we’re all just continuing to keep up the popularity of an anime that really should just fade away. One thing I do know, A Certain Magical Index is falling flat for me right now and while I’m committed until episode 13, I’m almost certain to drop it after that. 

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A Certain Magical Index Rubber Strap Collection Box
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