The latest episode of Attack on Titan was a rollercoaster ride of action and emotion. Part flashback, part present, it was all intense. Missed my last review? Catch it here!
The episode opens in a flashback of winter training. All the new Scout recruits accounted for…except for Ymir, Christa, and Daz. Eren wants to head out to look for them, but receives orders to stay inside; a search party will look for them in the morning.
Meanwhile, Christa and Ymir are dragging Daz through the snow to rescue him. Through a back and forth conversation, Ymir calls Christa on her bluff of wanting to die trying to save Daz. She then reveals to Christa that she knows Christa is the mistresses’ daughter people were attempting to hunt down.
In a flashback, we see Ymir in a church sneaking around. She overhears two priests discussing how a powerful nobleman had a child with his mistress. They were discussing just killing the child to be done with it, but instead decided to convince the noble to have the girl change her name and live a humble life. That girl – Christa – would also have to enter the Cadet Corps to help foster her humble beginnings story.
As Christa questions Ymir’s reason for joining the Cadets, they discover they are on a cliff overlooking the camp. Ymir suggests dropping Daz off the cliff and hoping he survives the fall. They will walk around the long way to the bottom and pick Daz up there to continue to camp. Christa protests, and Ymir rolls Christa down a hill in response, where Christa becomes covered by snow fall. There is a bright flash, and Ymir and Daz are gone by the time Christa digs herself free.
At this point, Eren and the group of cadets are planning to head out to look for the trio. As they prepare to leave, they notice a figure on the horizon. Hours later, Christa finally reaches the camp to see Ymir waiting outside. When she asks where Daz is, Ymir points to one of the cabins, where Daz is inside; cold, but alive. As Christa tries to figure out how the two made it back before her, or how they survived the fall, Ymir says she must tell everyone something. Before she can though, she makes Christa promise her to take back her name and live.
Cut to present day, and the group watches in shock as Ymir transforms into a Titan. Reiner and Bertholdt watch in horror as they realize the Titan that ate their friend and Ymir are one in the same. Below, Ymir is desperately trying to kill the other Titans and also prevent the tower from falling. Christa realizes that Ymir is trying to protect them and encourages her to topple the tower. Ymir climbs up the tower, has everyone grab on, then brings the tower down on the Titans below.
It looks as if the tower toppling has worked…until the Titans begin to rise from the rubble. As Ymir once again desperately tries to kill the Titans, she is overtaken. The Titans begin devouring her body. Christa tries to run to her aid, only to be cut off by a Titan.
Just as all hope seems lost, the cavalry arrives. Eren, Mikasa, Armin, and the rest of their group make quick work of the Titans and save their comrades. Once the battle is over, Christa and Hange tend to a mortally wounded Ymir. As they stand vigil, Christa tells Ymir her real name: Historia.
While some could argue that it was a filler episode, I think it provided a lot of exposition and character development. I was given a reason to care whether Ymir or Christa lived or died. The episode also revealed that Ymir is a surprisingly complex character. I always thought that the snarky bad girl vibe was a little cliché for Ymir and Attack on Titan as a whole. It’s nice to see that Ymir isn’t so much of a jerk as she is extremely guarded and closed off. She was hiding a secret that could kill her if revealed at the wrong time. I would try act offensive to keep people away too if I was keeping a secret that enormous.
This episode also had beautiful animation. From the subtle details of glowing fire, to the snow fall, the flashback was beautiful. There was also a great deal of emotive facial expressions. From Reiner and Bertholdt’s horror, to Christa’s face as she cries, the detail was phenomenal. Mixed with some intense music during the battle and emotional scenes, it made for a quality episode.
This episode also allowed viewers to break out their tin foil hats and start theorizing again. We have confirmation that Ymir is significantly older than she looks. She was there when the priests were discussing Christa’s birth. So why hasn’t she aged? Having latent Titan abilities certainly can’t be the reason for it as Annie and Eren would then have to be considerably younger. Yet, Christa knows the ancient language, was there when the priests were discussing Christa’s birth, and doesn’t look older than a teenager. Perhaps Ymir is the byproduct of whatever deal we see taking place in the credits between an otherworldly being and a human? Only time will tell.
As someone who hasn’t read the manga, I don’t know how this series will progress and can only make inferences from what has been given to me in the show.
Next week’s episode is titled “Warrior”. The reunited group of Scouts returns to Troust to figure out where the Titans came from. Along the way, Eren learns a shocking secret which changes everything. Hopefully this means we’ll finally have some answers!