Attack on Titan: “The War Hammer Titan”
I honestly didn’t expect to be writing another one of these so quickly. Generally, I only do a new write-up for Attack on Titan every 2-3 episodes, after I feel like enough has happened to justify a new review. However, “The War Hammer Titan” just has too much going on to justify holding off for the usual schedule.
Now that we’ve taken a couple of seconds to pick up our collective jaws from the floor, let’s dive in. “The War Hammer Titan” opens things up by giving viewers just enough time to breathe before jumping back into the grand conclusion of “Declaration of War”. The writers are really twisting the knife when it comes to the notion of hero or villain here, and it begins with Tybur.
While we were speculating about his fate last week, it looks like that question was very quickly answered. Though we spend a few minutes getting to know his family and understanding that even he may have seen his death coming, his point of view is almost immediately snuffed out as Eren eats him in front of the horrified crowd of onlookers.
Literally not pulling a single punch, Attack on Titan next sees Eren body drop into an entire military-sized bleacher of soldiers. As his fists pump back and forth, smashing and breaking every living thing in his wake, we watch him murder hundreds more in a matter of seconds. On top of the death toll from “Declaration of War”, this puts the dead wreaked by his single titan in the thousands in just a few minutes of screen time.
The action is just beginning, though, as Lara Tybur makes her first appearance as the dreaded War Hammer Titan. Covered head to toe in impenetrable crystal armor, she makes for a challenging foe indeed, even as Eren attempts to smash her skull in before she can finish transforming. Soon he’s skewered on a giant spike and we learn the true extent of the War Hammer’s power.
Able to construct giant, titan-sized, crystal weapons out of anything she can imagine, she seems to be so overpowered from the jump as to render any challenge to her moot. Smashing Eren’s hands and head off in a single blow, the battle already seems to be over again. As the War Hammer offers Eren a chance to speak his final words, she immediately regrets it.
“Mikasa, it’s now or never.” Suddenly Mikasa comes soaring through the air, firing 8 anti-titan shells into the nape of the War Hammer, bringing it down in one fell swoop. The moment Mikasa appears to save Eren, complete with a new shorn off look, is one of the times I’ve yelled the loudest in any anime ever. It’s All Might standing up for a cheering crowd in My Hero Academia. It’s Goku going Super Saiyan in DragonBall Z. In short, it’s absolute awe-stuck triumph.
This is without even stopping to acknowledge how many key characters, new though they are, suddenly are killed off before the War Hammer fight even begins in earnest. As Zofia is crushed by debris from Eren’s onslaught and Udo is trampled to death while inexplicably trying to free her, Gabi watches in horror. The most talented of the warriors is later seen gritting her teeth and staring up at Sasha after she guns down a pair of guards Gabi has rushed to for aid.
Already it seems like Gabi may be Eren’s final foe. A fiery young warrior filled with righteous fury and rage at her enemies, heaven help the Scouts if she goes on to inherit a titan as she hopes to. Speaking of the Scouts–ho-lee-crap! Sasha, Conny, Jean and… LEVI all make their mind-blowing Attack on Titan season 4 debuts in “The War Hammer Titan”.
Though everyone gets a moment to shine, it’s Mikasa and Levi’s saves that draw the biggest cheers. When Levi swoops in to stop Porco’s Jaw Titan assault, it’s a save for the ages. Now, with the War Hammer on the ropes and the Jaw Titan watching in terror as the Scouts swarm upon him like locusts, the tables have truly been turned on Marley.
How could anyone miss the symbolism between Attack on Titan‘s beginnings, where terrified humans watched in terror as titans ate their loved ones, and this season 4 echo where the titans shudder in terror at the might of the Scouts. And man oh man are those new steel suits sharp!
Aye caramba, what an episode! Now that total war has begun, who knows who could be the next to die? As even Mikasa seems to think Eren might be too far gone, will he maintain the support of his followers? What does Pieck, the Cart Titan have in mind for a counter attack? There’s a ton of Attack on Titan left, with a full round of 11 episodes still in the firing chamber, and they can’t possibly fire off fast enough!