Attack on Titan Declaration of War was perhaps the best episode of the series yet. It sets the foundation for everything yet to come and connects back to past episodes in both overt and subtle ways. Everything is coming to a head, and Isayama is tying things together perfectly. The episode has two aspects: Willy’s “declaration of war” and Eren’s reunion with Reiner. Both are equally engaging, with Willy giving the true history of the Great Titan War. It was in fact King Fritz who saved the world, not a Marleyan named Helos. Willy curses his Eldian blood, but laments that he doesn’t want to die because he was “born in this world.” These are the exact words Eren uses throughout the series on why he seeks freedom. The true threat of Attack on Titan, which has been hinted at since the end of the first season, are the Colossal Titans within the walls. If unleashed upon the world, the 10 million titans will cause a “rumbling” which will destroy all life outside of Paradis Island. Willy casts Eren as the villain by name, declaring war on both the Attack Titan/Founding Titan and the “devils” of Paradis Island. In the words of Krueger though, “Anyone can become a devil or a god, all you need is for enough people to believe.” Will Eren become the Devil to the rest of the world, but a God to those of Paradis Island? Meanwhile, Eren finally has his reunion with Reiner, shocking the latter. Falco is confused, but finally puts two and two together, realizing Eren is in fact from Paradis Island. Eren remains calm throughout his meeting with Reiner, but is a much colder version of the character than the one we once knew. His vision at the end of season three, in which he kissed Historia’s hand, changed him somehow. He tells Reiner that they are the same, and asks Reiner why he broke the wall that day and infiltrated Paradis Island. The answer is very simple: to regain the Founding Titan and save the world. Eren says that he used to view Reiner as the bad guy, but laments that now, he too, is a bad guy and may just destroy the world. He also notes that above them are innocent civilians, simply listening to Willy’s speech. Reiner is horrified, while Eren is calm and unmoved. He’s resigned to what he has to do. Eren says that he too is doing what he is doing to save the world. He is moving forward, no matter the cost. Eren has always been a character who moves forward, seeking freedom. This is just one step along that path. It’s cold, it’s harsh, but a central theme in the series is that the world is cruel. And Eren is about to unleash Hell on Marley in his own declaration of war. Reiner begs Eren for forgiveness, but Eren persists, “we are the same.” He lends a hand to Reiner, with no judgment or anger, stating it’s not his fault; he was brought up to believe that the residents of Paradis Island were subhuman “devils.” It’s no one’s fault. But someone has to bring judgment, which is hinted at at the opening of the episode with a quote from Bertholdt, that maybe a man who hung himself was merely looking for judgment. The shot quickly cuts to Eren, implying that he has come to Marley to bring judgment to those who have oppressed the Eldians for so long. This casts Eren as a Christ-like figure from Revelations, where Jesus brings judgment upon the world through extreme violence, which is an interesting parallel. Is Eren God or the Devil? This has yet to be established and may be left up to interpretation as the series goes on. There is a cut on Eren’s hand throughout his conversation with Reiner, which Falco notices. He feels betrayed. Eren’s letters have not been going to his family, but rather his comrades, who are most likely the Survey Corps. Falco trusted Eren. As Willy declares war on Eren and Paradis Island, Eren’s right eye begins to glow bright green, and he begins his transformation into the Attack Titan, presumably from the cut he has on his hand. Eren shows no regard for the civilians he has just murdered in cold blood. He states he will keep moving forward, no matter what the stakes. Reiner looks on in absolute horror and shields Falco away from Eren. Willy looks up in horror at the Attack Titan, the vengeance and harbinger of judgment, as Eren has finally declared war not only upon Marley, but the world as a whole. Declaration of War is the best episode of Attack on Titan yet, and it’s about to get a lot better with The War Hammer Titan. In fact, Attack on Titan The Final Season looks like it will be the best season of the series. One of the great things about it is that it’s so dynamic. It’s so different than the previous seasons, and the enemies are no longer the Titans, but the world beyond the sea. Is Eren a Christ-like figure, brought to bring judgment upon the world, or is he the Devil? We don’t know for sure, but his long hair is definitely a parallel to how Jesus is portrayed to have looked. Eren’s motivations are to save the world and keep moving forward, achieving freedom, no matter what the cost. What will that cost be though, and how far is he willing to go? We’ll see in subsequent episodes, but, one thing is for sure: Attack on Titan has just gotten a lot more interesting, especially with the next episode being the assault on Marley with the Survey Corps. Are they okay with murdering innocent civilians? That remains to be seen, as the enemy has always been Titans, who eat humans, not live human beings. At this point, where the series goes from here is unpredictable. But one thing is clear: this is one of the greatest stories ever told, period, with Declaration of War setting the stage for the end of the series. It was the best episode of the series so far and it’s about to get even better. The only gripe is the musical choice at the end; during Eren’s transformation, they should have played Sawano’s god-tier music. Instead they went for something else that didn’t quite fit, but, that doesn’t take away from how incredible the episode was. It was near-perfection.