Daniel Kurland | March 29, 2021 |
This article contains spoilers for Attack on Titan season 4 part 1. But not for season 4 part 2, or the manga (that we know of).
Many anime come along and leave an undeniable mark on the industry, yet every season of Attack on Titan manages to dramatically increase in quality as well as deepen the series’ scope and themes. Attack on Titan season 4, dubbed as Attack on Titan: The Final Season has pushed these limits more than ever before and the anime’s latest collection of episodes brilliantly play with the audiences’ perception of who they should root for in this increasingly deadly conflict. Attack on Titan season 4 doesn’t just thoughtfully detail how war can twist minds and pollute a nation, but it forces the audience to reckon with Eren Jaeger’s questionable descent into what might be the anime’s greatest villain rather than an underdog hero.
By Alec Bojalad
Attack on Titan: The Final Season lays impressive groundwork for the final battle between the nations of Marley and Eldia, but the end of the season comes with the news that audiences will need to wait until Part 2 to get the full story. Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 2 will surely be full of even grander twists and surprises than Part 1, but some hints towards what’s coming next have already been teased.
When Is Attack on Titan Season 4 Part 2’s Release Date?
Attack on Titan’s fourth season started with the exciting claim that it’s the “final season,” yet the conclusion of the 16th episode, “Above and Below,” comes with the announcement that this is only half of the story and that a Part 2 is on the way. Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 2 is promised to arrive at some point in the Winter 2022 anime season with the series’ 76th episode, “Judgment.”
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An exact date and episode count has yet to be confirmed, but Attack on Titan: The Final Season adapts around six volumes of the manga across its 16 episodes. Hajime Isayama’s iconic manga is soon about to wrap up and that leaves roughly another six volumes left to adapt. Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 2 will either be a tight ten episodes, like the approach taken with the second half of season three, or be allowed the room to breathe and end up around the same length as Part 1. When Attack on Titan is completely finished, it should have somewhere between 85 and 91 episodes.
What Is Eren And Zeke’s Master Plan?
The second half of Attack on Titan’s fourth season pulls off the major twist that Eren and Zeke have been working together and have an intricate master plan that they’ve spent years working towards. As the season comes to a close it’s revealed that this plan involves physical contact between Eren and Zeke to trigger the Rumbling, which will unleash major deconstruction on the world as a serious “warning shot.”
The finale explains that Zeke and Eren’s plan is actually more thorough and incorporates a genocide-like approach that will change the shape of the world more than any Titan ever has. The later stages of Eren and Zeke’s plan involves the euthanization or sterilization of all Eldians so that their race will just slowly die out and cease to be a problem since they’ll no longer exist after a few generations. It’s a wild development to everything that’s far more aggressive than an enormous act of destruction or manipulation.
It’s unclear exactly how Zeke intends to carry out the second half of the plan, but Eren and his Founding Titan are integral ingredients. The most chilling aspect of all of this is that Eren and Zeke have convinced themselves that the existence of the Eldian race is the true cause for everything that they’ve been put through. They’ve gone a step further than even their father’s elaborate plan to eliminate the Reisses. They’ve developed a narrative that justifies the extinction of a whole group of people essentially because “they started it” and that hundreds of years of war are just the continual fallout of that opening act.
Characters like Yelena and the Jeagerists have turned to idolize this destructive strategy as the necessary spark to move humanity forward, whereas the surviving members of the Survey Corps and the Marleyan Warriors are determined to make sure that Eren and Zeke’s plan doesn’t come to pass, but to also rip away his Founding Titan power and reshuffle the deck so that they’re the ones that hold more cards in the ultimate end goal to gain control of Paradis Island.
Are Levi And Zeke Still Alive?
The cliffhanger that leads into Attack on Titan: The Final Season’s finale involves an intricate torture that Levi has inflicted upon Zeke that involves a gruesome application of a Thunder Spear. Zeke calls Levi’s bluff and refuses to be a victim. The two of them explode and the episode ends with what appears to be the death of two pivotal characters.
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“Above and Below” spends very little time on the fallout of this explosive act. Levi appears to take the brunt of the Thunder Spear, but Zeke’s body is blown to pieces and he’s missing his bottom half. In an explicable act, a rogue Titan approaches Zeke’s dying body, rips open its own abdomen, and then proceeds to shove Zeke inside in an act of Cronenbergian madness. The thought process behind this action isn’t explored nor is there any kind of precedent for this in the series, but the likely assumption is that this is some manner of preservation to keep Zeke alive. If the aim were to absorb Zeke’s Beast Titan powers then he would have just been eaten.
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If Zeke does return in a healed or transformed state then it makes the loss of Levi hit even more difficult to accept. This final season has worked hard to create empathy for Zeke, a former villain, but Levi is one of Attack on Titan’s most beloved characters and his mission to take out the Beast Titan also carries the weight of Erwin’s sacrifice, too.
Levi is too important of a character to receive an offscreen death and so he’ll definitely return, but it doesn’t seem that likely that he’ll survive this casualty without being turned into a Titan himself. Starting Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 2 with Levi’s death would make for a powerful way to drive these final episodes forward and reiterate the stakes.
Will There Be More New Titans?
Attack on Titan: The Final Season debuted several new and amazing Titan designs that made all of the earlier behemoths almost seem lazy in comparison. However, the cliffhanger with Zeke in the Titan belly makes it seem like Part 2 of this final season is interested in digging deeper than ever into Titan lore. The anime has laid the groundwork so that these new episodes can go for broke with the creativity behind these creatures while also redefining what’s considered to be a Titan. That ominous sequence from season two’s opening credits that shows Titans running in tandem with dinosaurs and sperm whales could finally get some proper context as more creatures establish new rules.
The brief tease that the finale offers towards Part 2 seems to depict Eren standing before a powerful tree of life. This tree appears to represent the bonds that tie Titans and their memories together across generations and it might be full of the secrets that define the Titans. There’s been more of an emphasis on the need for Titans to strategically co-opt each other’s powers. These final episodes might introduce radical new Titans but this tree could offer the ability to access all Titan powers or something even greater.
Is Falco Now Tainted By Zeke’s Spinal Fluid?
Gabi and Falco experience a terrifying reckoning when they’re nearly killed as a result of Gabi’s hand in Sasha Blouse’s murder. Falco suffers an injury from a bottle of wine, which turns out to be infused with Zeke’s spinal fluid, which is just one of many steps in Zeke’s plan to assert control. Falco doesn’t drink the wine, which is a grim fate that befalls many soldiers, but enough of it gets in his mouth to cause concern.
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Falco’s an offscreen presence during Part 1’s finale and there’s still worry that he’ll be controlled by Zeke. It feels as if this may be temporary misdirect and a way to make Gabi more vulnerable to Eren’s manipulation, but it’d be a genuinely tense encounter if Gabi is eventually forced to fight against a Zeke-influenced Falco.
What’s To Come Of Historia’s Pregnancy?
Season four of Attack on Titan casually reveals a very pregnant Historia Reiss, which could have drastic ramifications on the second half of the final season. Grisha attempted to kill the Reiss bloodline so that none of the royal family would strive to consume Eren and benefit from mixing their royal blood with his Founding Titan ability. Grisha wasn’t entirely successful in this effort and there are now more complications present since Historia is pregnant with a successor that can carry on this cycle and disrupt what Eren, Zeke, and their father before them, have attempted to put into motion. It’s one of many interconnected branches on these family trees that could ruin Eren’s mission or simply become more of his collateral damage.
One could even argue that the whole reason that Historia’s arbitrary pregnancy was put into motion was to apply pressure on Eren. Ideally this knowledge would leave Eren feeling vulnerable enough regarding his legacy to not go through with the Rumbling and push the world into ruin with his radical mission. Unfortunately, Historia’s actions don’t dissuade Eren and if anything they’ve left him and Zeke more determined than ever to pull off the proper plan that will “fix” the future and end this generational chess match to consume and inherit power.
Will Annie Leonhart Return As A Pivotal Player?
One of the other recurring threads from Attack on Titan’s busy fourth season is that Armin has periodically visited with Annie Leonhart, who’s encased in crystal. Armin has shared stories of the past few years with Annie to keep her up to date and it’s implied that his newfound connection with Annie is a result of Bertholdt’s memories and feelings being filtered through Armin after he inherited his Colossal Titan.
It definitely feels like Attack on Titan is building towards Annie’s awakening so that she can also do her part in this battle royale between Titans. Since her appearances don’t go anywhere in season four’s initial episodes it’ll be a serious shock if she doesn’t play an important role in Part 2, even if it’s just as food for someone else.
Will Gabi Or Falco Inherit Titan Abilities?
A major element of this final season is the competition between the Marleyan Warriors to determine who’s best qualified to inherit Reiner’s Armored Titan. Gabi and Falco are at the frontrunners for this responsibility, albeit for very different reasons. Both of these characters have encountered mass casualties and grown up in tremendous ways.
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Gabi and Falco have put in so much work that it only feels natural for them to become Titans, commit even harder, and come at Eren with an unprecedented level of strength as well as the support of their ancestors pumping through their veins. Reiner is still a major player in this ongoing war and so it’d be just as likely at this point for Gabi or Falco to take on the Jaw Titan or Cart Titan from their comrades if it’s absolutely necessary.
Who Will Win The War For Paradis?
The biggest question that’s left for Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 2 is who will be the winners when this lengthy war comes to a close. “Above and Below” concludes with Eren ready to engage in combat with not only Porco, Pieck, and Reiner’s Titans, but also the collective Marleyan air force. Marley benefits from the bigger numbers and the element of surprise, except it’s unlikely that this war will be concluded in Part 2’s opening installments. Marley has never been more concentrated on Eren’s elimination and Eren, Zeke, and Yelena are prepared to go to questionable lengths in order to secure what they have and “protect” the Founding Titan.
It’d be easy for the anime’s final episodes to truly embrace Eren’s warped role as a megalomaniacal villain, but even if Eren succeeds or fails it’s tough to view any possible outcome as a victory. A conclusion where both Marley and Eldia are reduced to rubble and a new Titan-less generation is left to pick up the pieces might be the only way that Attack on Titan’s world can find true peace. Answers–along with lots of heartbreak, bloodshed, and wonder–will arrive in Winter 2022.