Ten years after the first episode of Attack on Titan, the anime ended with a finale that did not disappoint.
The series began with the main characters—Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert—fighting from within a walled city against man-eating titans that have brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Season after season, the show used that premise as a jumping off point for exploring deep and fascinating ideas, as heroes and foes joined forces to fight censors, corrupt leaders, and other threats to individual choice.
“In what way are you free?” Armin asks Eren in the final battle to determine the fate of humanity. Beneath all the violent action, Attack on Titan is ultimately an anime about what it means to be free. Over the course of the show, freedom turns out to have a different meaning for everyone—freedom from war, freedom from repression, freedom from segregation, freedom from love.
Creator Hajime Isayama gives us a world filled with morally ambiguous battles, forcing the viewer to contend with the messy reality of politics and war. Everyone has to get their hands dirty—even Eren himself, who squares off against his closest friends after becoming a genocidal titan. Yet this dark, cruel world leaves you with a glimmer of hope that the desire for freedom will triumph, cementing its place as an anime masterpiece.