Probably the biggest point of controversy with the reveal of Attack on Titan’s final season was that Wit Studio wasn’t going to be handling the animation for the show. In its place, the animation studio MAPPA would take over instead, and we got our first glimpse of what the final season would look like when the teaser trailer dropped.
It looked decent, then the first episode aired. And it wasn’t long before comparison videos started popping up to show the difference in animation between the studios’ titans.
Here’s the thing, though: after watching the entirety of the first part of the final season, the animation work by MAPPA wasn’t that bad at all. In fact, it was still pretty darn good.
If there are any complaints to be had, it’s that the final season’s use of CGI seems to be more widespread than before. And if you’ve hung around the anime community long enough, you’ll know that CGI in anime is generally not very well-received. CGI fight scenes can make the titans look awkward when they move around, or somewhat disproportionate and out of place.
In addition to that, the character designs are also noticeably different from the style that Wit has spent years creating. It’s worth noting that the final season kicks off after a rather significant time skip from the end of the third season, and there are tons of character design changes to keep into consideration. That being said, it’s inevitable that longtime fans would miss the iconic gritty style of Wit’s character models, complete with the thicker lines used to shape their faces, and the shading used to add depth to them.
It’s certainly my biggest gripe with Attack on Titan’s final season, as some characters look almost unrecognizable thanks to the slight change in art style and the time skip. Hitch Dreyse, for instance, is just a side character in the grand scheme of things, but it definitely took me a few seconds to figure out who she was when she makes her first appearance this season.
Overall, though, MAPPA certainly didn’t disappoint when it came to the high-octane action scenes that Attack on Titan is known for. We were treated to so many scenes of the scouts zipping around with their iconic ODM gear, along with bombastic titan fights that feel weighty and impactful.
It’s easy to see why the knee-jerk reaction from fans would be to immediately shun MAPPA’s new animation style; after all, even popular series like One-Punch Man fell victim to a studio change and saw a significant dip in quality when it came to the fluidity of the animation and action scenes. With that in mind, it’s probably safe to say that Attack on Titan is in good hands, especially after what we’ve seen from this first half.
Indeed, since the final episode of the first part aired earlier this week, fans have been flooding the studio with thanks and gratitude for taking on this project despite its notoriety for being one of the hardest shows to animate, and for outstanding animation quality. With a whole other half of the final season still to come next winter, things are looking up for the Attack on Titan community.