Attack On Titan Season 4 Episode 5: Declaration Of War

Hauntingly beautiful and heart-wrenchingly cruel, Attack on Titan Season 4 barged into the Winter anime season and dominated the charts. Attack on Titan season 4 episode 5 release date has been set on Sunday, January 10th.

The tension rising higher than ever after Eren’s reveal at the end of episode 4, leaving audiences utterly clueless about his intention in the enemy’s land. Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 5 capitalized on this ignorance and delivered one of the most nerve-wracking episodes in the history of Attack on Titan and possibly in the anime world.

What Happened In Attack On Titan Season 4 Episode 5?

A Dramatic Opening

I have got to say, Attack on Titan really does have a unique way of setting the tone for the episode. Right off the bat, we saw a flashback with the three young Reiner, Annie, and Bertholdt during their years of hiding inside the walls. As they walked, the three Marley warriors discussed why an old stranger would confess his guilt to them before hanging himself. Bertholdt, always the observant one, pointed out that maybe “What he wanted was to be judged by someone”. The scene cut violently back to the present time, with a shell-shocked Reiner staring speechlessly at Eren. 

What Happened In Attack On Titan Season 4 Episode 5?
A talk long overdue – Source: MAPPA

Not so subtle, but the message is clear: The time has come for Reiner to answer for what he had done all those years ago.

The Armored Titan has consistently been shown as a villain of the story. We follow Eren and his comrades in the first three seasons as they battled through adversaries and betrayals, most notable of them all none other than Reiner (Attack on Titan Season 2 Episode 5, anyone?)

Then comes season 4, and our entire life has been suddenly flipped upside down. With just four episodes, MAPPA has successfully established Reiner as a strong and determined, but ultimately broken man. The pain and trauma of fighting his old friends in Paradis never left him, and the show made sure to drill that down. 

Attack On Titan Season 4 Episode 5
Reiner’s lowest point – Source: MAPPA

And now, at Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 5, we have reached the boiling point of the Marley story arc. Eren successfully cornered Reiner and forced him and Falco, who has unknowingly led Reiner to this trap, to stay and talk. 

And a terrifying man Eren has turned out to be.

A Tense Conversation

We saw Eren pointing his hand upwards to the building above the ground, describing it as “full of people waiting for the curtain to rise”. That could be a harmless statement had it not been for the deep bloody cut on that same hand. Gone unsaid was the threat that Eren could transform right at that moment and kill everyone around and above him.

A Tense Conversation
What episode does eren get eaten? – Source: MAPPA
Gone was the skinny little boy eaten by a titan way back in Season 1 Episode 5.

Now, Eren was the one dictating the terms, and both of them knew that. Reiner Braun, the proud shield of the Marley army, grew visibly distressed when confronted by Eren’s brutal but straightforward question: “Why, Reiner? Why was my mom eaten by a Titan?” Without hesitation, Eren excruciatingly interrogated Reiner about his past mission before seemingly having a change of heart and forgave him, claiming “over the sea, inside the walls, we are all the same”.

That, right there, is a huge character development moment. The boy who had vowed to make Reiner and Bertholdt “suffer and die in the worst way possible” had died, and in his place stood a calm man who understood the bitter truth, that he and those fighting against him are not so different after all. 

Despite that, Reiner just couldn’t take it anymore.

We saw him break down and confess that he pushed the mission to continue and that he alone was responsible for Eren’s mother’s death.  Reiner then tearfully begged Eren to kill him, claiming he was “sick of this… of myself”.

All the while, a paralyzed Falco watched the exchange, vaguely aware that he was betrayed by “Mr. Kruger” – Eren’s alias – and had unwittingly brought about something dangerous.

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A Grand Declaration

While all of that was happening underground, Willy Tybur worked hard on the stage above to reveal a shocking truth: The world’s history about Paradis island has been nothing but a lie.  King Fritz of the island never intended to retaliate with millions of titans onto the world if threatened. He, and his descendants, would accept their fates if Marley was ever to steal the Founding Titan and destroy Paradis. Oh, and King Fritz is also the one ending the old Titan war as well, moving away to the island peacefully.

One could wonder why Willy has chosen to reveal his lie in the most public way possible.

Turns out, it was all in his plan. As Willy continued with his speech, we learned of his true intention that night. Tybur spoke of a rebellion that had taken place inside the walls, that one person had managed to steal the Founding Titan and revealed his name. That person is none other than Eren Yeager. 

A Grand Declaration - Attack On Titan Season 4 Episode 5
Attack on Titan season 4 episode 5 – Willy’s speech – Source: MAPPA

Bits of the puzzle are now falling into place. And as Willy goes on to claim that Eren is now “a threat to our world – a rebel against peace”, we understand a bitter truth. The existence of Eren, and by extension Paradis island, is now a danger that the world can not afford to ignore any longer. Because Eren is not under the will of the old king, so of course the first thing one would do when coming across a Titan power is to use it to destroy the entire world. 

Talk about assuming the worst in people.

And so, Willy Tybur, on the grand stage before ambassadors all over the world, amid thunderous applause, declared war on Paradis, and all hell broke loose.

A Swift Assault

While the world’s attention focused on the head of Tybur’s family, the Survey Corps made quick work of the Marley force, expertly trapped Porco and Pieck. With Zeke’s conspicuous absence and Reiner’s missing, all four of Marley’s Titans were effectively neutralized, leaving the entire internment zone stripped of its’ main line of defense. Liberio is now a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode.

A Swift Assault - Attack On Titan Season 4 Episode 5
Pieck and Porco’s trap – Source: MAPPA

Back in the underground, Eren stood up, having heard enough of the world’s desire to eradicate his people, closed his eyes in resigned determination, and offered a hand to Reiner. The Armored Titan’s holder, not believing his eyes, shakily accepted the hand. “I think we are born this way”, Eren said, “I just keep moving forward. Until all my enemies are destroyed.”

Lightning burst forth from his hand’s cut. Eren transformed.

The “bomb” has been set off.

And hell came to Libero.

Attack On Titan Season 4 Episode 5: Review

Right after that, Willy is immediately killed seconds after his own war begins, and the episode ends on a cruel cliff-hanger. At least you don’t have to wait for an entire month like the manga readers, so there’s that for you. 

Critics and audiences has hailed Attack on Titan season 4 episode 5 alike as one of the best episodes of Attack on Titan, thanks to its expertly crafted tension and on-the-edge soundtrack. It doesn’t have much action at all. Still, owing to the snowball building up over four episodes, we are treated to a masterpiece of mystery. Eren Yeager, our protagonist, manipulated, lied, and threatened characters to get what he had planned for quite a while, by the look of it. Poor Reiner, our supposed villain for the past three seasons, is now trapped utterly helpless underground and forced to comply if he wants to save Falco and everyone else standing above them.

Quite an ironic twist of fate, isn’t it?

And with that, we have also reached the defining theme of Attack on Titan, where the world is not just black and white, but rather all shades of gray. I dare say that if we had been watching Season 4 as if it was the first season, Eren Yeager would no doubt end up on quite a few people’s list of villains. To quote Eren Kruger, the predecessor of the Attack Titan: “There is no such thing as truth in this world. That is our reality. Anyone can become a God or a Devil. All it takes is for someone to claim that to be the truth.” Attack on Titan has given us an everlasting reminder about perception.

All in all, combined with its masterful story-telling and close parallel with our real world’s history, it is no surprise that Attack on Titan is often called a masterpiece in modern literature. 

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Catheryn Halley

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