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Last week’s episode broke our hearts as our favorite potato-lover, Sasha, is killed by our least favorite Eldian-hater, Gabi. Though the heroes of Paradis struck a decisive blow against Marley, sacrifices have been made to ensure the operation’s success.

Episode 9 provides us with many revelations about how this pyrrhic victory came to be. It turns out that soldiers from Marley’s defeated countries are conscripted into the nation, who in turn established a resistant group from within Marley’s own ranks. Shockingly, it is Zeke himself who leads them, and is the mastermind behind the countless survey ships destroyed by Eren and Armin.

What makes this episode so interesting is how the captured Marleyan troops sllowly grew to like the Eldians and even help them learn about technology and modern warfare; this became evident when Niccolo, initially your typical Eldian-hater, became Sasha’s favorite chef, and vice-versa. Furthermore, Onyankonpon’s comment that everyone deserves to be respected, regardless of race or even color, shows that not everyone in the world hates Eldia.

But wounds never heal quickly, and the people of Paradis remains hateful of those beyond the sea. Even after Niccolo has proven himself after three years, we still see him get beaten up just for showing up in Sasha’s funeral. Of course, the Braus family is just like the deceased potato-lover, and they accept Niccolo’s offer of a warm meal with open arms.

The fact that everything has become a cycle of revenge is plain to see. So we really can’t blame Eren for his actions. But it seems Armin once hoped to avoid total conflict; ever the pacifist, Armin simply wishes to live in a world where everyone could accept each other. And it is clear that recent events are heavily affecting him. Interestingly enough, he reveals most of his feelings and worries to none other than Annie, who finally makers her due appearance, albeit still trapped in her crystallized prison.

Overall, episode 9 gives us a mixture of emotions once again, both sad and bittersweet. It shows a great deal of insight about the various events that has happened, and would happen, as well as the reasons why Eren’s preemptive attack is both justified and uncalled for. Unfortunately, things are starting to escalate as Eren seems to prepare for an event that would literally shake the entire world.

Episode score: 9/10.

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