Attack on Titan Season 3 – Episode 38 – “Smoke Signal”

Hey, I’m back once more with recaps on here. The last time I did this, I was around for the amazingness of the “shitty anime” that is known as Pop Team Epic. And now look, it’s on Toonami, constantly confusing the hell out of people. What a glorious time to be around. Anyway, this show I’m about to do is also going to be on Toonami, but it isn’t its first go around. No, this one is an old staple I guess, as it’s been around for 4 years giving people so many HOLY SHIT!! moments as they rock out to the hyped-up OPs. So yeah, we all know this one. The 3rd season of Attack on Titan is here, and to help Rob pay for his alcoholism with ad revenue welcome this show in, I decided to recap it myself. However, unlike the My Hero Academia recaps, I have been reading the manga recently, and well, there’s a lot of stuff happening. So yeah, I’ll get to that at the end. But for now, let’s get to the start of this, and enjoy more of Eren screaming.

It starts with Eren looking at a blue sky by himself, surrounded by seagulls, thinking back to when Armin was talking about the sea and wondering what lies beyond it. Then the OP kicks in, and well, it’s already gotten some attention.

The OP, “Red Swan” isn’t like the other AoT openings. It’s not hyped-up. It doesn’t make you want to get crazy and beat up the person next to you. It’s not done by Linked Horizon. It’s … actually pretty refreshing in nature. It’s like a calm song with Eren and co. It’s doesn’t feel like it fits, and yet for me, it kind of feels like it does. Sure, that may not make sense, but hey, whatever goes your way. I know many people are not going to like this song because it’s not the high-energy jam that AoT brings, but whatever. Maybe you’ll get something else in the next cour.

Moving on, the gang is all at a new place now after the events of last season. It’s a hiding spot, as Sasha, Jean and Connie come back with food. Eren berates them for stepping in as they aren’t clean, as we see Levi’s “clean freak” personality is getting to Eren.

Jean hates this, and argues with Eren, as Mikasa and Krista/Historia return with fire wood Mikasa chopped. She’s still injured from the battle, but she doesn’t give a shit because she’s Mikasa. Sasha feels like this is just like their time back in Cadet Corps, so much so that Sasha tries to steal some bread without them noticing (t doesn’t work.) But they are now part of a new squad, the “Levi Squad,” that is meant to protect Eren and Krista. Speaking of, our brooding half-pint returns and doesn’t like the cleaning job as usual. However, they have other business to get to. Hange has some experiments to test on Eren, and well, they don’t go too well. Eren in his Titan mode fails and falls to the ground. As Levi points out, this form of his isn’t even 10 meters tall, and his body doesn’t have its full muscle. But more importantly:

Since he’s not signaling, everyone goes to help out. His face is coming off, as Mikasa cuts Eren free. As we can see, they got a long way to go before they can use Eren’s Titan Hardening ability to fix the walls. With the experiment over, they decide to retreat, making sure there are no witnesses around. Levi, after all of this, is going back to Trost with Hange, but he tells Krista to ride with Eren. We see a flashback of Pastor Nick from last season, and after that, we see a couple people in the distance watching them.

In Trost, Levi tells Erwin all that happened, as all they got is the stuff Krista knows and nothing else. Erwin did read the report on Krista, her crazy backstory, and how she’s the illegitimate daughter of Lord Reiss (I’ll get to this at the end), but the mystery is why Reiss, a regional lord, knows the secrets of the wall. We then see Pastor Nick by himself as someone knocks on his door.

Back at the hideout, Eren is back up after sleeping the whole day. He knows he can’t help build Wall Marie now, but Connie doesn’t care for that. He just wants to fight the giant Beast Titan for what it did to his village. As he leaves to the lookout, Krista says how nice it is they have goals. Since Ymir isn’t with her anymore, she doesn’t know what to do now, but Eren is happy that Krista is talking again since she told them about herself. He’s glad that “Good-Girl Krista” is gone. The facade she put on creeped him out, and she’s just pretty normal now.

It’s then that Eren remembers something from the conversation he had with Ymir and Bertholdt because he forgot it for some reason. Hange then arrives with some news: Pastor Nick is dead, as he got murdered in the Trost District barracks they placed him in. As it flashes back to it, two Military Police soldiers are there, and they ruled it was a robbery-murder. Hange’s not buying this, as she sees his nails were torn off, but they aren’t dealing with Hange, as they start to get physical with her. Her Executive Officer, Moblit Berner, gets the dude, Djel Sannes, off of her, and they tell him who they are, but he doesn’t care, as a person being murdered by another person isn’t in their jurisdiction. They are part of the First Interior Squad, the capital’s Military Police, so it’s weird seeing them down in Trost. Hange starts to see everything now. She shakes the dude’s hand, starts to feel them up, and gets to spill stuff about the pastor as he was part of the “Order of the Walls.” She didn’t know this about her “friend,” but he had enough of Hange feeling his hands. So Hange leaves a message to Nick’s murderers: the things they did they thought was righteous and just, but Hange doesn’t care. She will torture them alive and make them suffer like Nick did. As they leave, Hange knows it was the two MPs who were the ones who tortured and killed Nick.

Ah, nothing like a little torture to lighten the mood

Basically, they knew that the Church would deal with Nick since he was talking with them, but they thought they secured his location and identity well. But since the Interior MP’s did this, they aren’t messing around. The good news (not for Nick though) is the fact that Nick’s nails were ripped out. If he talked, he would’ve talked after the first one, as Levi puts it. So their enemies don’t know they know of the Reiss family, but they know the government is watching them.

It’s then that a messenger arrives sent by Erwin. Erwin’s message causes Levi to have everyone leave the place, leaving no trace they were there. A couple hours later, the MPs arrive, but the group is out of there. New orders came from the government that put a freeze on the Scout Regiment from outside the wall. Basically, they’re after Erin and Krista, and it doesn’t help that after Erwin sent the message, the MPs got to him as well. Since they know the enemy is after them, Levi’s plan is to move Eren and Krista to Trost. Why? Because they can slip in the panic and use their weapons there. Levi will take Hange’s Squad as she and Moblit go to get Erwin, but before Hange leaves, Eren hands her the conversation he had with Ymir and Bertholdt in written form. As they all leave, two new figures arrive at the hiding place, and one knows Levi all too well.

In Trost, Levi tells the group to remain close. The town is celebrating the anniversary of King Fritz’s coronation, and with it, the king hands out  most of the royal family’s reserves to the town. They give out 60% of their goods, as it seems too much just for public approval, but the shot of Lord Reiss and others talking about this with the king menacingly looking on says it all. They are planning for “that power and vessel” as they have “that” plan set into motion.

It is back to Levi, as he notices something. A carriage comes at them from behind at full speed and takes Eren and Krista, but in reality, it’s not them as the two are in a different wagon hiding out. The people who got captured were Armin as Krista and “that horse face” again as Eren (Personal note: I don’t know how they keep getting away with Jean as Eren, especially since Jean is like a half-foot taller than that loud mouth.), and so the kidnappers got the two, and …. the dude immediately starts to molested Armin. Yup, it goes there with the guy feeling up Armin, as Jean can’t watch this.

Poor Armin doesn’t deserve this!

Mikasa is watching this unfold, and she does feel bad for Armin. She reports to Levi as they know his identity is gonna be blown soon. Levi does know these kidnappers are amateurs, but he doesn’t know who would hire them. He tells Mikasa to handle them, as he’ll go back to Eren and they can meet up when they’re done. However, he also has a message for her and the others. As a few more men with their boss enter the building, Mikasa, hiding in place, launches a sneak attack.

That’s going to be felt for days.

As she takes out the 4 men, Jean and Armin break free from their capture and tie them up. However, baldy still has a gun on him. Luckily, Sasha is there with a bow to stop him. Mikasa tells them they will meet up with Levi and relays his message.

As the wagon Eren and Krista are in stops at a blocked path, Levi arrives to Erwin’s messenger, who is named Nifa, and another messenger. Levi knows something is wrong. He knows the MPs didn’t hire the kidnappers, and he wonders if someone is tailing Eren. He asks Nifa if she has heard of someone named “Kenny the Ripper.” He is supposedly an urban legend who was a mass-murderer in the capital that slit the throats of hundreds of MPs. Levi says he’s real, and he lived with him as a kid. If it was Kenny who was tailing them, he would do this from a high POV place. Unfortunately, that is what happens, as the dude is right behind them. Levi is too late to react, and Kenny blows Nifa’s face off with AoT’s version of a shotgun. Another guy arrives and blows the other messenger’s face off too, whose body lands right in front of a scared mom and tiny daughter. As he reloads his clip, Kenny ask if Levi has grown, as a bunch of other people arrive with Kenny and surround Levi. Levi screams as he starts to face his old acquaintance.


Well, that ending was a welcome back for fans of this show. It had a good cliffhanger of an ending, but OH BOY, there’s a lot to get to on here, and by that, I mean the comparisons between this and the manga. As I said, unlike with MHA, I have read the AoT manga. (If you have, MY GOD the art is hideous. It’s amazing how WIT Studio’s made this anime so good looking compared to THAT.) This episode takes place between volumes 13 and 14, and well, it goes all over the place, like everywhere and then some. They left the whole thing with Hange and the MPs intact, as well as Sasha’s bread stealing. That was good, but they did a lot of different things too. They cut out most of the scenes with Titan Eren and the experiments that had more to them, as it showed Eren transforming 3 times and him building a house. No, really. Hell, the stuff on how Titans and humans are related? That was left in their side notes to transition from A-Part to B-Part. They didn’t give any reaction about why they are in a hiding spot in the woods. I don’t know if the S2 recaps do it, since I haven’t seen them, but they just place them in the house with no explanation and just felt like it was nothing.

Then there’s Krista/Historia. In the same volume, we get her backstory and how she came to be known as Krista. They only gloss over it like it’s nothing, even though it’s kind of a big backstory that involves her, her parents, and another woman who Eren may also know. I guessing they’re going to get to this, since the OP highlighted it, but it just felt weird to skip over this with all that happened. Oh, and that thing with Eren? He barely remembered that, not the conversation he had with Ymir/Bertholdt. Not only this, they went around a bunch with some stuff. The conversation Krista and Eren had? That didn’t happen at the hiding place, but it happened as Armin and Jean got kidnapped. The whole fight at the end with Kenny? Maybe they could’ve saved it for after they were done with the kidnapping part? All of that happens in volume 13, and Kenny doesn’t appear until the next volume. Plus, WIT added some stuff that wasn’t there: the talk, and Armin’s unfortunate sexual harassment. That didn’t occur at all. It’s anime only. I know WIT has done this before with the show, (just look at Ymir’s past last season), but this just felt like it was all over the place.

Even so, with all the weird happenings, this was a pretty okay episode with a damn good cliffhanger ending. The animation is still well done, and the VA work is still wonderful. If you’re wondering to go with either dub or subs, you can’t go wrong with either one. You will have to wait longer for the dub, since it won’t premiere until Toonami starts to show it on August 18, but hey, you can be patient, right? Right? Overall, a good episode, even if it didn’t show any Titans. Oh, did I forget about the Titans? Yeah, this season may have slightly a few less Titans than the other seasons. There weren’t any either in the opening. It’s gonna be mostly a human story this time.

Attack on Titan Season 3 is made by WIT Studios. The series is licensed by Funimation. New episodes can be seen on Crunchyroll and Funimation at 2 PM ET Sundays, with the dub coming to Toonami on August 18th.

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