「宣戦布告」 (Sensen Fukoku)
“Declaration of War”
And now we get to the fireworks. Well, the kickoff of the fireworks, because never say SnK doesn’t know how to drag out a good old-fashioned bit of suspense. With plenty to catch up on and even more to delve into SnK has a decent mountain to climb from here on out, but never once think for a second think things are going to slow down. If anything, the ride is about to speed up. Fast.
Given the tease at the end of last episode you easily predict Reiner wouldn’t be liking the reveal, and oh boy was that true. Flat art or not (Wit I miss your artistic lavishness), debatably dragged out moment or not, just watching Reiner slowly understand there’s an oncoming Titan pain train and it isn’t slowing down was a beauty to behold—and combined with the dual horror of Falco and Reiner realizing they will also be to blame for the results? Mm chef’s kiss. There were a few ways to adapt that scene, but damn if MAPPA didn’t nail it.
The real meat and potatoes though lay in why Eren is about to start the next round of hostilities, and good man Willy Tybur was here to helpfully explain it. While probably confusing why the true ruler of Marley would suddenly come out with King Fritz actually being innocent and a pacifistic isolationist, it makes sense in practice from a survivalist mindset. Like all politicians, Willy has a few skeletons in his closet, with the truth of Paradis being one of them. This one, however, is enough to potentially upset Willy’s position given many Marleyans are likely to question why an Eldian technically still rules or why that Eldian just made an unnecessary enemy. How do you solve that conundrum? Craft a new enemy—in this case Eren (who already is ironically Marley’s enemy)—and direct everyone against them. Not only will those inconvenient truths quickly be forgotten, but your powerbase remains secure for a good while longer. Especially when couched with plenty of theatrics to keep the masses entertained. Of course, Willy doesn’t expect Paradis via Eren to essentially preempt his own move (and in more than one way), but hey, it’s just helpful reinforcement to show why you always prepare for any possible outcome.
Whether or not Willy and Marley can deal with Eren’s opening gambit is anyone’s guess, but we will know the results soon enough. And maybe the identities of some other things as well.