「闇夜の列車」 (Yamiyo no Ressha)
“Midnight Train”

Two episodes in and one can confidently say that yeah, SnK won’t be rushing things. I thought we’d get a little further in this story by this stage given how much is going on, but considering just how much is going on I think I can forgive some smelling the roses. When you’ve got a time skip to work through and a new war to introduce, sometimes a little complacency is a worthwhile thing.

After all the action teasing of last week, this episode was a more constrained affair largely devoted to explaining why Eldians in general are doomed to death on a mass scale. Yes, there’s plenty of historical references you can pick and match to what SnK is playing up with its latest material (although it’s very good to note a lot of it is more 1900s than 1930s, just in case anyone forgot what pogroms are), but the key of all this flash is that Zeke’s and Reiner’s Eldians are a tool rapidly running out of use courtesy of technological advance, and when said use finally expires, there’s nothing stopping their Marleyian overlords from simply liquidating the bunch (just think how poor Ymir was treated in the end). What, managed grabbing the Founding Titian and putting Paradis in their place (even if that’s unlikely to happen)? It doesn’t matter when armoured piercing shells and high-flying aircraft ruin whatever ephemeral advantage that may have provided. It was a tale of hoping reality proves otherwise this week, and as secretive meetings indicate, why reality ultimately wins in the end.

The interesting bit though is mostly what’s left unsaid, and that concerns everyone currently Paradis. No matter how much Zeke and Reiner may publicly play up the hope another assault on Eren and friends will bring lasting peace, no matter the zealotry of their chosen successors, both implicitly understand it’s a suicide mission only likely to see more of them die pointlessly at best. The question then is how to channel that knowledge into a proper chance of Eldian survival – and that’s where the real meat of this arc lies. We’ll start getting a better idea of what’s to come in a couple of weeks (if I have the pacing more or less down), but expect the battlelines and factions here to start getting incredibly complicated in a rush. Think it’s all going to be about simply finding peace? Best reconsider those beliefs, because that only hits the surface of this brave new world.

In the current SnK there’s more at play than simple survival, and as we’ll find out soon (at least once the original cast reenters the picture), no limit to what is possible when the going starts getting tough.




      1. The manga is supposed to finish in two chapters. Given that, the ending is already written for sure and can be given to the animators. The delay in season start may have been partially to let the manga finish first since it got held up from covid.

        1. All we know right now is that the series will see a full adaptation. To my knowledge it’s been confirmed that this season won’t be completing the adaptation, with the rumour mill speculating whatever is left outstanding to come in some sort of OVA or movie release.

          This would make some sense too as they’ll likely want to drive manga sales from this season, and there’s no better way to do that than leave off on a cliffhanger which can only be answered by grabbing the next release. Pretty much like Game of Thrones, except with a “book” which actually releases on time 😛

          1. I would be okay with the idea of a concluding movie if they were going for a worldwide (streaming) release which they obviously wouldn’t, so I hope that this won’t happen.

  1. They are spending some time building it up which is good and I appreciate that.

    My only gripe is that the quality of the animation was noticeably down this week. Hopefully it is not a trend that will continue.

    1. Animation isn’t bad IMO (and oh boy could it be significantly worse), but outside of any action-centric episode I wouldn’t expect much from this season. SnK just isn’t popular enough with the current crowd to draw the budget it once could to keep up what Wit started.

  2. I almost completely disagree. When Udo was complaining in this episode, his animation had too many stilted frames, to the point it became distracting. Thankfully the rest of the episode fared better, but that scene alone made me pause and go like “What the hell is going on with you, MAPPA?!”

    Also, Wit had a unique sense of lighting on characters and environments even in slow paced episodes that is all gone with MAPPA and is very noticeable for someone who recently marathoned their last season of AOT. And don’t even get me started on the usual stilted 3D animation in comparison to Wit’s faithful 2D animation of the non-Colossus Titan Shifters. I don’t even want to imagine what the Colossus Titan will look like in that 3D animation in comparison to Wit’s mostly smooth 3D animation of the same.

    MAPPA simply suffices for AOT, but compared to Wit, it’s pretty clear which studio brought the world of AOT to life the most. MAPPA is great in most other things, so I can’t even bring myself to blame them for being unable to uphold that standard (which may even be perceived as being set very high by Wit) given that they’re also busy bringing visual justice to Jujutsu Kaisen, which looks incredible. But it is what it is.

    1. For me it’s not so much the animation as the art which stands out. Might just be selective memory at play or the current scenery, but I remember Wit’s work being quite vivid and bold whereas MAPPA’s present effort appears soft, bland, and a little faded. Nothing particularly egregious when we get down to brass tacks, but damn if expectations are going to make or break how everyone treats this season.

    1. If you mean splitting up the 16 episodes into two seasons nope, it’s a full run. We likely had the strange premiere date so the season can run all the way through winter.

      If instead you mean for whatever comes after these 16 episodes then yeah, it’s being split up, and we probably won’t know how long the wait will be until after this season ends.

      1. I mean the latter, having this half be 16 episodes and then the rest being the remaining story, however long that goes. Though with so many chapters left to adapt, I feel like it would be closer to 40 episodes at least.

        1. Not a guarantee though given it’s known this season won’t be fully adapting the manga. There’ll likely be something afterwards to conclude things as it’s also known the intention is a full adaptation of all available source material.

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