Attack on Titan Episode 61

Attack on Titan Episode 61

Midnight Train

Let’s start off this review of Attack on Titan episode 61 by going over the results of a poll I ran over on Twitter. Last week, I asked what you thought of the Final Season’s OP. Surprisingly, 56% of respondents think that both the OP song and visuals are good, while 22% think they’re bad, and another 22% think one is bad while the other is good.

I wasn’t really expecting so many people to respond saying that the OP is good overall. Personally, I don’t like the song and I find the visuals to be a bit repetitive. But apparently, most of you like it, so I guess I’m just a hater as usual.

Moving on to this week’s episode, I think I’m starting to see why the production of this series has been rumored to be so bad. Did you notice that there was a lot of seemingly awkward animation in this episode? That’s not really a result of the bad production, but rather a cause of it.

Pieck Finger from the anime series Attack on Titan: The Final Season
Pieck Finger

One of the issues I’ve heard that AoT’s Final Season production has is that they’re trying to use the detailed manga character designs within the anime. So how have they attempted to resolve this issue? Rotoscoping. Rotoscoping is when animators draw over of real-life footage frame by frame.

As you can see from this episode, that sometimes doesn’t work out well. Rotoscoped movements can easily look off compared to background art if the time isn’t taken to make sure it’s perfect. And since we know AoT has a rushed schedule, my guess is that was the case here. Not all rotoscoping looks bad though — just look at Kizumonogatari.

But, I just said that the awkward animation was a cause of the poor production, so how is that the case? Isn’t this a product of it? Well, you may have also noticed that a lot of the rotoscoped scenes included dynamic camera movement as well. That’s the issue.

Normally there wouldn’t be all of these dynamic shots. And you may have noticed that many of these dynamic shots were for mundane scenes. In the past, AoT would only use dynamic shots for infrequent action scenes. Using them for a large number of random scenes like this is obviously going to put a strain on the animators.

Next Generation Warriors

Going into this season we knew that the production wasn’t going to be the best. So let’s move onto some good things about the episode, such as how it builds up some of the new characters. Specifically, I want to talk about the two Warrior candidates who have had the most screen time so far, Gabi and Falco.

Despite having similar backgrounds, Gabi and Falco are very different characters. But this difference between them isn’t something we’re explicitly told. Rather, it’s something we can understand through both their actions and words.

Of the two, Gabi is the one who’s far more indoctrinated by the Marleyan military and her family. This makes sense though, considering that her cousin, Reiner, is one of the Warriors. Obviously, that’s a point of pride for their family, and Gabi aspires to be as respected as Reiner is one day.

Falco helping an injured Eldian soldier from the anime series Attack on Titan: The Final Season
Falco helping an injured Eldian soldier

Falco’s family situation is somewhat similar, with his older brother Colt being next in line to take control of the Beast Titan. However, he’s a very different person from Gabi and has different reasons for wanting to achieve his goals. Falco is someone who questions the Marley regime and the ethics of the Warrior program despite being a part of it.

Interestingly, they’re also both competing for the same role. Reiner’s Armored Titan is the goal for the four younger Warrior candidates. We don’t really know what motivates Udo or Zofia, but it’s pretty clear for Gabi and Falco by this point.

Gabi’s personality makes it clear that she’s after attention and fame. Everything she does is for the purpose of putting herself in the spotlight. With Falco, it wasn’t so clear until partway through this episode when Reiner tells him to become the next Armored Titan. Falco wants to achieve this to save Gabi from that very fate.

Attack on Paradis 2: Electric Boogaloo

In this episode, we see Zeke arguing for the Marleyan military to launch another attack against the island of Paradis. He first argues for this course of action before the top military brass and then attempts to convince his fellow Warriors that they should take up this cause.

When talking to the leaders of the military, his argument is that the rest of the world is building weapons to take down Marley. And so, Marley needs to buy themselves time to build up their own arsenal. One way to buy this time is to take control of the Founding Titan on Paradis and threaten the world with its power.

This brings up the debate of who the real enemies of the world are. According to Zeke, the Eldians are the enemies of the world and Marley is trying to save the world from them while simultaneously defending itself from the rest of the world.

Marley's Warriors (and Colt) from the anime series Attack on Titan: The Final Season
Marley’s Warriors (and Colt)

The other Eldians living in Marley have similar views. For example, Reiner’s mother believes that wiping out the “evil” Eldians on Paradis will allow for the rest of the Eldians to live in freedom. After all, it’s just that small group of “evil” Eldians who are giving the rest of them a bad name.

But what’s the reality of this situation? Sure, the power of the Titans was used in the past by the Eldians. However, the Eldians of Paradis have been living in isolation for centuries, not even knowing that the outside world existed. So are they really the great evil that the people of Marley believe them to be?

As you may have figured out by now, the Eldians aren’t the problem. Marley is the problem. Think of it this way, what country is using the power of the Titans to fight against the rest of the world? That’s right, it’s Marley. They’re doing the exact thing that they’re accusing the Eldians of doing centuries ago.

Marley is basically gaslighting the Eldians by repeatedly saying they’re the problem.

Conclusion

What do you think of Attack on Titan: The Final Season episode 61? Do you like the use of rotoscoping and dynamic shots? Or would you prefer the more static animation used by the previous seasons that relies more on the character acting? And who do you think should become the next Armored Titan? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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