Attack on Titan episode 86 is probably the best animated MAPPA episode so far and it delivered not just amazing action scenes, but also quite a lot in terms of the story progress. The fight with Jeagerists rages on and the clock is ticking. Destruction of the coastal cities is becoming inevitable, as the battle rages on. Jaw Titan makes a return.
One thing that sticks out in this episode is the insane amount of violence. Jun Shishido’s influence is visible, as titans are decimating soldiers. Mikasa is killing people left and right, backed up by her comrades. Even Connie picks up the blades and fights to save what is now humanity. But, while all this is happening on-screen, one (somewhat unwelcome) thought pops up: it is horrifyingly beautiful. The animation, the music, the raw emotions displayed on characters’ faces – it is somehow reminiscent of Attack on Titan’s beginnings, while also not allowing you to forget anything that has happened up to this point. Even the eye-catch resonates with the overall themes because “For as long as people hold firm to different beliefs, there will always be an enemy“.
As much as Floch is unlikeable, he is an extremely well-written character. As someone who joined the army only to watch his comrades die after being pushed into a battle as bait, he had a difficult path ahead of him. Leader of the Jeagerists is not something I would have guessed he’d become, but the bottom line is that Floch’s version of patriotism aligned with Eren’s goals. I can’t decide if he fights because he hates the world or if he hates the world because of everything he (and his people) have been through. He is a good leader, willing to sacrifice himself for what he believes in and it is sad that this unwillingness to try and find another, more peaceful way brought his end.
It never occurred to me how similar Theo Magath and Kieth Shadis were until they met in this episode. Both trained young people and sent them to their deaths while trying to fight for something they believed in. Magath’s end wasn’t a sad one, as he chose death to protect the children he helped raise. Similarly, Shadis knows there is no place for him in this new world his cadets are fighting for, regardless of who wins. He is ready to go to protect them. In the face of a common, truly terrifying enemy, it becomes easy to find new allies and learn how to co-exist. It’s just a shame that realization came a little too late.
Mikasa is once again forced to think about the worst scenario: killing Eren. Annie’s father is doomed and without him, she has no will left to fight. However, one thing that can keep her going is Magath’s sacrifice. He died so that they could have a future, and even though Annie’s days are counted, she could still fulfill his final wish and try to save as many as possible while redeeming both herself and her comrades, Magath included. But, will Mikasa be able to kill Eren if needed? Will she be able to stand by and let Annie do it? Once again, she was not ready to answer, but the clock is still ticking.
There will be no new episode of Attack on Titan next week, but “The Dawn of Humanity” is airing on April 3. It is now obvious that the entirety of the manga won’t be adapted in this season, but there is still no indication about the possible continuation.