Annie is back!
Episode 23’s first half focuses on the wielder of the Female Titan, who we’ve not seen except through flashbacks and brief cameos since 2013. Thus, it is only natural that the first half explores her backstory.
Annie’s life is full of tragedy. She was abandoned, adopted only to be trained in a harsh manner, and eventually became the Female Titan. It is no surprise that she initially viewed the world in a twisted way, which also influenced her brutal fighting style. Much of this stems from the persona that her adopted father had shown her, and the grueling and violent training she has endured.
But like all darkness, there is still light. Annie and her father are both shown to deeply care for each other, evident when he begged her to come back alive before she sets out for Paradis, and when he resisted being arrested after he told the Marleyans of the Wall Titans’ approach. Furthermore, it seems that Annie’s long slumber has mellowed her into a more pleasant personality, though no less brutal.
With that, the episode switches back to Armin and the rest, and we see just how bleak the situation really is. Armin has already lost all hope, only taking action to solve the problems that he and his friends had found themselves in, and realizing that may have been the wrong person to be given the Colossal Titan. It is even more heartbreaking when he snaps at Mikasa, showing just how much stress he is enduring.
Meanwhile, Floch has began executing people that disagrees with him. Coupled with increasing resentment from those citizens who wholeheartedly agree with Eren’s plan of genocide, it is clear that Paradis is becoming violent. The sad thing is, the people have every right to feel that way considering the horrors they have suffered.
We also get a scene between Conny and Falco in the end, and it is really sad how Conny has changed, choosing to sacrifice a kid’s life just to save his mother, though we couldn’t blame him, either. But perhaps all is not lost as two familiar faces appear in the end credits and encounter Magath and Pieck—an encounter that could potentially change the course of the war.
Overall, episode 23 is another epic episode full of twists and drama. But as we draw nearer to the epic conclusion of the series, expect more of these along with some of the greatest fight scenes in Attack on Titan’s history.
Episode score: 10/10