Monday, December 21, 2015

Attack On Titan: Junior High Episode #12 Review (Finale)

From the moment we're born, we're all free.

What They Say:
It's back-to-school for the cast of Attack on Titan as this spin-off gives us a glimpse into the average school year for each and every one of them. Instead of fearing for their lives, the characters are fearing for their lunches as the titans have a brand new appetite (One significantly less heartbreaking). Based on the manga, Attack on Titan: Junior High brings us familiar faces and memorable scenes in a lighthearted comedic format that is sure to bring a smile to your face. Will Eren and the others be able to survive the school year being right next door to a school for titans?

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
If there is one thing in life that is important to man, it is the cheeseburger -- a creation so riddled with perfection that it can drive one to the brink of destruction all for its self-preservation. Eren Jaeger is one of the few people to recognize this power. At the end of last week's episode, the titans not only stole a cheeseburger from Eren but stole an entire cheeseburger stand -- a task so dark and twisted that it would land the perpetrator in the seventh ring of hell in itself. However, that punishment would not be enough to satiate Eren's thirst for revenge. This week, he takes on not only his enemies but himself as he and his classmates take the battle to the titans in an attempt to rescue their beloved cheeseburgers.

To Eren's dismay, the task at hand is not as easy as just running off and reclaiming his beloved. First, he must consult with the rest of the Wall Cleanup club. Levi and the others express their distaste for just running off and seeking revenge. But after a heated argument, Levi begs Eren to just do whatever he will regret the least, obviously resulting in Eren taking off with Mikasa, Armin, and the rest. Upon arrival at the titan sector of Attack Junior High, the gang is once again greeted by Hannes as well as their rivals from the Kamameshi food stand. Rico, being the head of the stand, joins forces with Eren and bestows unto him and his friends the 3D maneuver gear. Things are about to get easier. Hopefully.

After stumbling into one of the school offices, Eren and the gang are confronted by an interesting sight. There is an entire human-sized Wall Maria town replica right in the middle of the floor. And in the middle of said replica, there is a key. (Obviously a callback to the AoT episode where Eren had to go all titanic and bumrush the door to break it down). The plan is immediately created soon after that Eren will retrieve the key and bring it to the door while the rest of the cleanup crew will defend him and distract the titans. The scene then erupts into a dramatic and intense outbreak of music and emotional dialogue as Eren becomes empowered and slowly makes his way to the door. Honestly, even with this being Attack on Titan: Junior High, this was one of the most powerful scenes of the season. For just one moment, the show was devoid of all comedy as an AoT original was remade in a new light. You could say that just the fact that this scene happened is a parody in itself, but as you're watching it, it really doesn't feel that way. At least, it didn't for me.

In the end, Eren is able to open to door. But on the other side, there are just more titans. It's not a big deal, though, considering Levi and the upperclassmen show up just minutes after and...start playing a song? Since when do they have a band? Anyway, the titans are once again distracted as they fanboy at "Levi and the Scouts" (The name I have given to their band) and all is well. Until....(drumroll)...the colossal titan shows up! The titan grabs the cheeseburger stand from atop a pile of other stolen food carts and opens his mouth, desperate and eager. But there is one person more eager than the colossal titan, and that guessed it, Eren Jaeger. Eren rockets onto the colossal titan's shoulder and dives for the cheeseburger stand in an attempt to save the day. The downside to all of this being...well, he was swallowed. But wait! The titan spits him back out for some reason, and Eren has a cheeseburger in his hand! The day is saved! Everyone rejoices as he comes back to the ground. That is, everyone except the staff of Attack Junior High, seeing as Eren and his friends are in direct violation of school policy. Looks like next season is going to be Attack on Titan: School Detention.

Best/Favorite Part:
The highlight of this episode, maybe even the whole show, was the "Key" scene that I mentioned before. AoT Junior High once again shows that it can be serious when it wants to. And, oh man, these few minutes were overflowing with awesomeness. From the still frames of the characters' exasperated faces to the background music pumping into your ears, everything about this scene was right on target and easily dwarfed the rest of the already great episode.

In Summary:
Attack on Titan: Junior High is a show that, on its own, seems nothing more than average at best. But when you consider the demographic that this show is being marketed to (Diehard AoT fans), it becomes something more. There are so many callbacks to the original series that it's almost impossible to go through an episode without noticing one. The comedy is extremely well done with both subtle and unobscured moments of hilarity. The art and the soundtrack both add to this hilarity as well, constantly beckoning you to remember that this show is still just a parody. It's there to be fun and nothing more. And in that aspect, it accomplishes its job almost flawlessly. But having a few episodes thrown into the mixture that underwhelm the rest can sometimes be rather disappointing. Even with this in mind, AoT Junior High is great fun and I would easily recommend it to all fans of the original series that aren't too single-minded to deviate from Attack on Titan's ultra-seriousness.

Episode Grade: A
Series Grade: B

Streamed By: Funimation

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