The abnormalities that surround the War Hammer Titan are the biggest obstacles for Eren and the Survey Corps. Their precise strategy doesn’t work as intended since the Titan’s human doesn’t appear to occupy the nape of the neck, but is instead underground near the feet. Another fascinating revelation around this Titan is that the user is linked via a fleshy umbilical cord that’s straight out of eXistenZ or Videodrome. There’s no time to appropriately deal with this new information, but it’s easily one of the coolest/grossest Titan developments in some time.
The combat in “The War Hammer Titan” is highly suspenseful, but it transforms into an epic free-for-all between multiple Titans where everyone tries to eat each other in order to take over the dominant abilities. It’s an act that would look completely bizarre at the start of Attack on Titan, but it’s crazy how this strange Titan ouroboros is now completely logical. No one gets to consume their Titan targets in this episode, but as even more Titans enter the fray there are suddenly even higher stakes present.
On an aesthetic level, there were initially some reservations over MAPPA taking over animation duties from WIT Studio for Attack on Titan’s final season. Any differences so far have been largely negligible, but it’s also been a reasonably calm and contemplative season up until this point. “The War Hammer Titan” is nearly entirely action as scenes of combat, chaos, and destruction play out. It’s the first time where the audience gets a better idea of MAPPA’s ability to handle Titans’ more intensive moments and this is fortunately an episode that looks fantastic.
Mikasa’s surprise attack is a little CGI-heavy at moments, but it doesn’t dwarf the action. The battle between the Attack and War Hammer Titans, the Survey Corps’ siege on Marley, and the constant panic that’s present in the citizens all come to life in a satisfying manner. The animation is able to match the gravitas of these moments and there’s a grandiose score that amplifies these pivotal scenes even more.
Attack on Titan is now in that amazing, glorious sweet spot that’s only rarely achieved by a high-quality piece of programming after it enters its endgame. Suddenly every new episode immediately becomes the series’ best installment. Last week’s “Declaration of War” defied expectations in every regard and set a new high mark for Attack on Titan, but it looks like the next handful of entries are all going to operate at this level after considering the events in “The War Hammer Titan.”