Opinion: Attack on Titan's Final Season Will Be Polarizing for Fans Because of Reiner's Side, Part 2
Warning: this article discusses events up to the second episode of Attack on Titan’s final season. If you haven’t watched the anime up to then, this article may contain spoilers for you!
It’s no wonder the whole world thinks of Eldians as devil folk when you see a bombardment of titans destroy Fort Slava in the first episode of the season. But the new cast, previously mentioned, present a squad of very young heroic Eldians who are training to take over the roles of the Nine special titans like the Beast Titan and the Armored Titan. These include Gabi and Falco Grice.
Falco and Grice look to be around Eren’s, Mikasa’s, and Armin’s age at the very start of the series during the Fall of Wall Maria. There’s even a scene in the second ep of the season where these kids resemble Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie as kids, in the adult Reiner’s eyes.
The point of the scene is to show that history repeats itself, and that war is especially cyclical. Think back to the start of the series. When Eren was a child, the audience witnessed his mother devoured by titans. He vowed revenge on titans and we supported him as our hero.
He eventually grew older and was able to exact some amount of vengeance by taking out Bertholdt, the Colossal Titan, and defeating Reiner, the Armored Titan. Gabi thinks just like Eren did as a child, but from the opposing side. She hates the Eldians of Paradis, such as Eren, the same way that Eren despised the titans as a kid. She most likely wants to exact some vengeance as well for the death of Bertholdt. But an even stronger driving force for Gabi is her loyalty to the Marley army, and a desire to be useful in the war by saving Eldians like her.
She wants to fight for her race, who have been persecuted. It’s very difficult for us not to root for her and her friends. That’s why the season will be polarizing. We observe that this Eldian unit believes what it’s doing is right just as much as Eren and the Scout Regiment believe what they’re fighting for is right. Fans of the series will argue whether Eren’s side or Reiner’s side should win. And some viewers may actually get turned off from the show when a clear “good” side vs. “evil” isn’t presented to them.
We already see Reiner go through something similar when we observe that he’s conflicted about the Paradis war. He was undercover on the enemy’s side for years, and he made friendships in the Scout Regiment that were painful to break. The audience will experience the same pain as it sees tough choices being made and characters we’ve grown to love start getting killed. But because Iseyama is showing the struggle from both sides, we’re bound to argue on whether a character deserves to be killed or not.
(image source: Amazon)