When Attack on Titan initially began, the title of the first episode, “For You, 2000 Years From Now,” had a cryptic meaning, both in terms of what it was alluding to and who was behind it. When it comes to concealing secrets, Attack on Titan is a master at it. However, it’s very astounding that in “From You, 2000 Years Ago,” the answer to this question that was posed in the anime’s pilot finally gets answered, echoing closure through centuries of strife.
Eren has always been the series’ protagonist, even if he didn’t know it at the time, and this haunting piece of symmetry demonstrates that. Eren left a trail of breadcrumbs for his descendants to follow, which have become the very foundation of the continuous conflict of Attack on Titan. “From You, 2000 Years Ago” investigates this trail. There are moments of horror, but it’s an episode that pushes the season to even greater heights when everything is set ablaze in the finale.
The first half of the last season of Attack on Titan was a joy to watch, but it also had a lot of big narrative risks as it approached its climax. Throughout the second half of the final season, Attack on Titan has mastered the art of serialized storytelling to such an extent that each episode sets a new bar for the series’ zenith. Every episode of this season can easily be reduced to “the best episode” of “Attack on Titan,” but “From You, 2000 Years Ago” is truly one of the best episodes of this season.
There are narrative milestones in series that are never reached because doing so changes the premise totally and challenges the show to prove that it truly has something to say beyond a captivating hook. This is the case. Recently, Attack on Titan has felt like a gigantic game of Uno between the Jaeger brothers, with each brother playing the Reverse Card just as the other appears to have won. A +4 Card that’s been accumulating interest for generations is Eren’s secret weapon in “From You, 2000 Years Ago,” which begins with Zeke seemingly in the driving seat.
Seeing Eren use the Founding Titan power to start the Rumbling and unleash an all-out stampede of Titans is downright terrifying, especially after he successfully claimed Ymir as his own and used the Rumbling to set off the Rumbling. Attack on Titan’s new opening title sequence has always teased the Rumbling, but when the series officially delves into this insanity that’s poised to demolish the world, it hits on a far deeper level. At this point in Attack on Titan, the characters have endured so many setbacks that it’s hard to see any way out. In addition, Armin and Mikasa come to realize that Eren is a villain at this point in the series, which leaves the heroes of the anime in a state of disarray.
On some level, Eren relieves Ymir of decades of trauma even though he ends up benefiting from Zeke’s emotional manipulation. This is what makes Eren’s coup on Zeke so fascinating. Because Eren is sensitive to the suffering of exploited cyphers such as Ymir, he is able to empathize with the two characters in his harrowing psychological drama. His master plan for Ymir is so convoluted that even while his words of healing to her are real, one cannot but feel worried as she relinquishes her control.
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In “From You, 2000 Years Ago,” there are several notable moments, but Ymir is the star. Ymir’s unfortunate circumstances and the circumstances surrounding the first Titan are beautifully revealed in Attack on Titan. Ymir is the beginning of a sequence of scapegoats that can be traced back through the ages, but it all begins with him. Even though she remains almost completely silent, Ymir’s narrative is devastating and it’s a credit to her plight that she still manages to portray a wide range of emotions. Ymir’s gritted teeth during Eren’s calming words are as emotional as any lengthy lecture, both physically and metaphorically.
Ymir’s emotional beats are as riveting as Attack on Titan has ever been, but Eren’s transition into the Founding Titan will be the episode’s most talked about the focal point. It’s a spectacular and epic makeover, even in a series full of transformations. Despite its formidable rib cage, this Titan appears to be hundreds, if not thousands, of feet long.
Throughout the last season of Attack on Titan, episodes like “From You, 2000 Years Ago” demonstrate the exceptional storytelling that’s been in place since the beginning. At an alarming pace, years of building and development have transformed these episodes into the kind of event television that so many other shows strive for but fail to achieve. Attack on Titan’s “From You, 2000 Years Ago” is a fantastic episode that deserves to be recognized as such. There will undoubtedly be more episodes from this last season that top the heights of this chapter.