Have gotten to it after following AOT the anime and manga closely for the past decade—the ending was OK. In many ways, it’s a natural ending that as I see it—it played everything till the end very safe. It didn’t try to go and do something crazy (say, killing the rest of humanity EoE-style), but neatly tied all the loose ends together that there is nothing left for the audience to think about or feel through.
For any other show, this ending would have been very good, as it brought everything full circle (Eren diverting the titan towards his mother was a very cool bit)—but for a series that has risen to an almost legendary status as AOT, selfishly, I wanted something more… daring?
Recalling back the entirety of the series and why I loved it in the first place—it was extremely focused for the first 2.5-3 seasons. It was the scout regimen vs. titans, done. Of course, it’s good that they expanded it all out, but during this final season part 3 part 2 chapters 3-4, all of those players, such as eldians, marleyans, erin, friends, not friends, ymir, army, titans—it all felt very busy, too busy for comfort.
The fighting was of course phenomenal, can’t say anything about. The choreography, soundtrack, animation—top shelf stuff. That is something you can never take away from AOT, except for the ending that falls a bit flat… more like a wet fart. It was good! But it’s hard to say it’s AOT-level good, which pays respect to all of the previous seasons together.
For example, of course, Eren is a gigachad that planned everything ahead and had all those wiped-until-all-is-done conversations with his comrades; having Reiner, Annie, etc. live till the very end and after also doesn’t fit the bill for me. They are of course the tortured characters, however, AOT never went soft on any characters it built up through the seasons, so having them saved through the end reeked of some plot armor technique.
Mikasa not getting the future she wanted to get with Eren by running away all of those seasons ago and from the magician OVA was fitting, yet Eren’s execution at her hand was a bit of a nothingburger as well, a moving jpeg. It didn’t have the gravitas of killing the most important character and catalyst of the entire series. Unfortunately, the recalled memories montage wasn’t nearly enough for me to justify such a colossal action.
Finally, the post-credits scene with the ever happy after. It felt a bit like Darling in the Franxx wtih the montage as Mikasa got older, Paradis developing, and then withering away in continued wars with the mainland. The intent is crystal clear, it is human to have disagreements and fight. Almost Orwellian—and I hate 1984, as it’s a laughable book, which to my sadness, seems to have influenced the ending.
The whole “WAR IS PEACE” only holds in the book and in the minds of people as something profound and deep—the world itself doesn’t work that way, as the reality is much dimmer and complex than that. Countries and different ideologies can exist in a state of cold war, or constant back-handed politics, without the need for wars. So, ending the credits with Paradis getting destroyed many centuries (?) later in many ways undermines the entire show.
All four seasons span about what… 10-15 years? With a bit of a time skip in between, so glossing over 100s of years is a bit of a cheap trick to paint by colors and solve a puzzle that is missing a peace, mistaking it for something of “war never changes,” “humans be humans,” and other, moralistic approaches. Did the scout regiment and my beloved Commander Erwin die for nothing? Just to prove the point that one gets used to wars, is a part of them, therefore, they are destined to be fighting until they die? It’s not a false statement, sadly, it is an uninspired one.
Similar to 1984, it’s a defeatist mentality, which drives one’s understanding of conflict towards war and endless destruction, circumventing the human nature, resulting in a desire to race to the bottom. It is a good movie, yet for a high standard like AOT, which it deserves to have, not nearly enough. Everything else was phenomenal. 6/10; Eren is such a cool character. Thank you.