「完結編（前編）」 (Kanketsu-hen (Zenpen))
“The Final Chapters (Part One)”
Well, it’s here at last, the finale to the finale to the … finale? Yeah, something along those lines, because there’s no denying SnK has proven very willing to milk its final moments for all they’re worth. And I quite mean milk. Between two hour-long episodes (and no guarantee of those being it) tacking off the most ludicrous, over the top, and potentially divisive material of the series we’re getting animation ahoy and lots of fan favourites doing their thing. And you know what? I’m quite loving it so far.
Right off the bat the good thing to note with this finale for SnK is that it’s not going to be anime original. Although the potential remains when the second episode this fall comes around, so far everything in this one meshes with the manga. The Rumbling is in full effect, the heroes (and reluctant heroes) do everything in their power to stop Eren’s rampage, and some of them ultimately choose to make the greatest sacrifice for the sake of ending one screamy boy’s outburst of teenage angst. Hell we even got the Annie-Armin moments of beating around the bush of awkward romantic crushing, so don’t say the MAPPA and company weren’t fully attuned to audience demands.
Arguably the big selling point here, however, was the animation. Regardless of the Wit vs. MAPPA arguments and the relative quality of the past few seasons, this one being treated like a movie definitely shows as MAPPA really brought their A game. the always expressive faces; impressive manoeuvre gear and general fighting set pieces; and the Rumbling itself: all the choice visual bits of SnK got a serious and well-appreciated injection of elbow grease. The Rumbling in particular stood out as MAPPA really nailed its feeling of forlorn inevitability, with a wall of death slowly and irrevocably bearing down that no amount of wishing or cursing will make go away. Some of the scenes were quite on point for base human nature, whether that be looting with no purpose served or outright fear causing everyone involved to meet an early end. Whatever the issues with SnK’s world as a whole there’s no denying the stark and destructive nature of it was on full display and make for a very riveting experience.
Such improvement though don’t make up for the elephant in the room: Eren. Besides the already crazy (if not ridiculous) developments last season regarding the nature of Eldian Titan power and how Eren now effectively controls it across time and space, we also have the kid’s philosophy at work which I think needs arguably little elaboration on at this point considering the likes of Reiner, Jean, and Connie can empathize with it. The big thing here is the response to Eren’s plans; Armin got a serious wakeup call courtesy of Eren himself, with those aspirational (and delusional) plans of talking it out put firmly in their place by the screamy boy himself. You want to stop Eren? You’ll have to kill him. Of course, as manga readers can attest, it’s more complex than that in practice (especially given we haven’t hit the truly insane parts of this story yet), but for the moment expect the main parts of grand finale to resolve through some major fighting.
Overall SnK truly is giving its all in its final moments, and with the very last episode coming later this year best be sure the greatest bits are yet to come. It’s going to get wild, it’s going to get crazy, but without a doubt this is one recent anime phenomenon that will be going out with the biggest bang possible.