It’s a showdown between two Nouzens!
Episode 21 is jam-packed with action and emotions from start to finish! Shin’s five-man team continues the pursuit of the Morpho, but it is now clear that all of them might not make it back alive.
This is immediately evident when Anju is taken out almost at the very start, prompting her to leave the group and stall for time. At this point, it is clear that Shin will eventually have to fight Kiriya alone, and the scenes of each member falling back to hold off the Legion is spine-chilling when we consider that they may soon die.
Raiden, naturally, is the last one to remain after being disabled, forcing Shin and Frederica to proceed without backup and face Kiriya. And once again, the series has outdone itself, not just in the fight scenes and soundtrack, but also in the emotions flowing out of the scenes.
The battle between the two Nouzens is nothing short of magnificent. Kiriya, despite his machine’s size, is truly a formidable opponent, capable of countering Shin in every way possible. He is definitely the better fighter, strengthened even more by his rage and bitterness, though it is really interesting that he see Shin as an equal, especially since they have the same fighting style, focusing on close-quarters combat.
Of course, Shin is a threat, so Kiriya has the permission to destroy him. But during the fight, we finally get to realize that the two Nouzens are exactly the same; both has lost everything, and all that is left is to fight until either one dies. Eventually, Kiriya would seemingly emerge victorious until Raiden seemingly sacrifices himself to save Shin.
The unexpected twist nails down the one thing we’ve all dreaded since the series started: that no one is safe and anyone could die. Of course, Raiden’s body is never shown, and he may have escape the Morpho’s attack. But despite that, there’s no denying that Shin is the last one standing, and that shot of him facing Kiriya alone while realizing that it may really be the end is poignant and somber.
Thus, when support arrives from a familiar Major, it truly feels epic and spine-chilling as Kiriya’s pain and fury feels very real. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough to bring down the Morpho, and it is only through Frederica’s distraction that her former Knight finally stops for a brief moment, allowing Shin to deliver the killing blow.
The saddest part here is how the Nouzen clan could have been in a normal world serving Frederica, and the anime perfectly portrayed that “what-if” scenario to great effect. Kiriya would have act like Shin’s scolding and strict older brother, while Shourei would be a mediator between the two. Alas, reality is different, and we see a final shot of the deceased Nouzens bidding farewell to their love ones.
It should be over, but the last scene makes for a heart-stopping cliffhanger until the series returns next year.
Overall, episode 21 is a banger episode that doesn’t hold back on the action and drama. The fight scenes are incredible, and the emotions are portrayed really well.
Episode score: 10/10.
And with this, my anime reviews for the year 2021 is officially over! Join me one again next year as I tackle the much-awaited second part of Attack on Titan’s final season!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!