WARNING: Contains spoilers. Written from the POV of a manga reader, so anime-only viewers please beware.
Meet the Warriors
We’re finally seeing the faces of the two other titans, the Cart and post-Ymir Jaws, and I’m not disappointed. The episode opens with the Marleyan generals having a top-level meeting inside an enemy building whose roof has been blasted off, and Zeke bravely speaks up.
They didn’t show the map of Marley and Paradis (inverted Africa and Madagascar in our world) which is a shame because I was looking forward to a colored version of it in the anime.
Later on Zeke and Colt have a private convo on a rooftop terrace, and here the anime added white bed sheets hanging out to dry, a great addition, methinks. It adds a dose of privacy to their conversation, and when we see eavesdropping Magat revealing himself to demand Zeke report about every hair on his butt, the opening up of the sheets enhances the moment of a ‘secret’ being breached. Unfortunately, to my great disappointment, Zeke’s toilet humour has been axed in the anime: in the manga he banters with Magat, saying, “Are you that interested in Eldian ass?”
In the manga (Chapter 93) we see Zeke saying he doesn’t want to meet an Ackermann once more, with a flashback of Levi, and explaining their existence as being an offshoot of titan experimentation. We then see a panel of the two remaining Ackermanns, Mikasa and Levi standing back to back, with the former towering over the latter but with the smaller one still managing to look like the scarier of the two. I was excited to see this in the anime adaptation but alas, that piece of dialogue and corresponding panel were slapped with the ‘Ignore’ sticker. Makes me wonder why, because I’m sure anime-only Ackermann fans would love any origin tidbit about these two. Fortunately, they tried to make up for this removal by a badass Mikasa in action, a part of Reiner’s flashback.
Porco and Pieck
Next we see Galliard and Reiner in a room, and we see the human behind the new Jaw Titan for the first time in the anime. Porco Galliard looks good here, and his voice actor even more so. I love him already!
Porco flashes back to the time he inherited the Jaw from Ymir, and the cave is bathed in an eerie bluish light. Poor Ymir looks utterly miserable, but I loved the way they drew in her sweet freckles.
Pieck comes in looking adorable, though she strikes me as appearing a lot younger in the anime than in the manga. I prefer her manga face, but I love the voice actor and could listen to her talk forever.
Reiner finally goes to meet the warrior candidates, and this scene is beautifully animated. I’m in love with the tiny change they made here: in the manga Gabi grabs her beloved cousin’s wrist with one hand, but in the anime she holds his large hand with both her small ones, which is totally adorable.
Reiner gazes at the four bantering kids and he flashes back to his time with his fellow warrior candidates. It’s interesting to note the change of positions here: in the manga it’s (from L to R) Zofie (Annie) – Falco (Porco) – Udo (Bertolt) – Gabi (Marcel), while in the anime the arrangement is Falco (Porco) – Udo (Bertolt) – Gabi (Marcel) – Zofie (Annie). I wonder why they felt the need to switch their positions? Anyway, it’s a little tidbit that doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things! xD
The group walks away, and we see the back of Eren’s head from atop a roof, gazing down on them. In the manga he’s looking at them from ground level. I like the anime rooftop version a lot more!
Cause for Celebration
Now we get to the most humorous part of this episode: the train scene where Colt gets drunk and hoists Gabi on his shoulders and they and the rest of the surviving Eldian fighters have a roaring good time. The differences in personalities and temperaments between Gabi and Falco is emphasized in this moment: Gabi is the cocky go-getter bent on fighting for the Eldian cause as prescribed by Marley, while clever Falco is the apprehensive one, the skeptical one. The dialogue between Reiner and Falco is the best-made part of this anime episode, I think, with the sights and sounds highlighting the (unspeakable) things both of them blurted out in the heat of the moment.
Home Sweet Home
We then move on to what is Chapter 94 in the manga, with the warriors and candidates having a touching reunion with their families in Liberio. But the part where Gabi is teased as a heartbreaker provoking Falco’s odd behaviour has been completely slashed from the anime, too bad! But to make up for it we get anime-only scenes of Pieck and Porco praising Gabi, which are all so adorable.
The reunion scenes are touching, very beautifully animated.
Falco, being Falco, notices the injured fighters and tries to be helpful, and we see him interacting with Eren for the first time. The cruelty of the Marleyan guards making fun of the war PTSD-suffering Eldians feels a lot more visceral in the anime, given the mocking tone of voice and startling sound effects.
At the Braun residence Gabi is duly praised for her contributions to the war effort, and Reiner goes off in a monologue about the ‘bad’ people on the island. I really wished they included the manga flashbacks to the 104th training days here, because they help explain Reiner’s state of mind. He really doesn’t think the people on the island are evil anymore, and is torn with his fondness for them and the call of duty. Are the removal of flashback scenes merely to avoid confusion, or are they due to the fact that Seasons 1-3 were made by WIT while this fourth one is being made by MAPPA? Whatever the reason, I feel it’s a pity because most of us would love to see even just glimpses of old names and faces amidst the sea of new ones.
Next we make a leap into Chapter 95 territory, albeit with more sawing off of content. In this anime episode Gabi’s interaction with a security guard has been removed, and proceeds rapidly to her and Reiner discussing his acting weird. The candidates’ training scenes have also been condensed to a second of Gabi-Falco altercation.
We quickly move on to tea time at Zeke’s room, with all the warriors present. What gutted me here was the total removal of Pieck and Porco’s interaction in the hallway. In the manga we see her walking on all fours like an animal, her shapely ass in full view of the startled Porco. She explains it’s simply easier for her to walk that way, and he tells her to get up and walk like an ordinary person. I absolutely loved this manga scene between them—it humanizes them and makes them more relatable and interesting—and couldn’t wait to see it animated. Unfortunately, there goes my hopes and dreams down the drain! Ugh, I mean, why? The time slot is set past midnight, ostensibly because it’s not kid-friendly material. So why all the mowing down on innuendo and blush-inducing scenes? If you’re gonna make the audience stay up past midnight you might as well show them everything, grr!
Anyway, enough whinging from me. We see the warriors discussing the upcoming assault on the island, with Pieck being clever and observant and Porco being all that, too, but in a different way. All to the satisfaction of the snooping generals. But Magat notices Zeke had casually warned his fellow warriors that they were being listened in on, and thus begins his suspicions of Zeke’s true motives.
In the manga this meeting is followed by flashbacks of the warriors’ training days as titans, but this part is sliced off in the anime and will probably be melded with the similarly chopped off candidates’ training days in Chapter 94. All in the next episode. Ah, that would mean more guillotined panels from Chapter 96 onward then. *Sigh*
So this second episode ends with Reiner dreading the thought of going back to the walled island once more.
Light and Shadow
What I loved the most about this episode was its incredible cinematography. From the very start, the gorgeous play of light and shadows was seen inside the roofless building on enemy territory, the skylight casting harsh shadows on the officers’ uniforms and faces.
Then we have the room where Reiner, Galliard and Pieck have a conversation. You can see the light filtering through the window, lighting up half of Galliard’s face and giving it depth and form, and it’s simply beautiful. Even the flashback scene of Ymir about to be devoured is a celebration of light and shadow. Later on we see the warrior candidates at the port during sunset, and the entire town is cast in an exquisite orange glow. Even inside the train bound for Liberio, the car containing the jubilant Gabi and Colt is lit with a lovely gas lamp, the eerie lighting making Reiner’s dark conversation with the terrified Falco all the more impactful.
Overall, while I’m gutted by all the cuts made to keep the episode within the allotted time slot, I love the anime-only additions. Also, we get all these gorgeous scenery and backdrops brought to life with sumptuous cinematography, making this episode a pleasure to watch.
Thank you so much for reading! What did you think of this anime episode? Please take a moment to share a thought or two in the comment section below. xoxo, hana
Next – Season 4 Episode 3 Review
Back – Season 4 Episode 1 Review