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The Attack On Titan Moment That Left Everyone Stunned

Fans of NHK General TV's Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojoin) are no strangers to mind-bending plot twists. From the beginning of the first season in 2013, the Japanese animated series based on a manga has been stunning its fans with revelations about the citizens on Paradis Island, the giant and horrifying creatures called Titans, and the tragic characters that fans have been following now for eight years over four seasons (there was a four-year-long break between seasons 1 and 2). Pretty much every season has been a thrill ride of epic proportions, and some of the truths revealed within have been totally unexpected.

Given that, any list of surprising developments in the series from Hajime Isayama is going to be hard to whittle down. Would it be the discovery that Eren was a Titan, and therefore that humans can control them? The identities of some of the named Titans (Colossal, Female, Armored) as friends and warriors? The revelation that Titans line the walls surrounding the cities of the island? There are just so many candidates. However, the currently airing fourth and final season has upped the ante. Here's the Attack on Titan moment that still has fans recovering from the shock.

Season 4 shocks with a change in tone, character, and setting ... and a shift in time

Season 4 is the last one in the Attack on Titan television series — it's even subtitled The Final Season — and as such, expectations were high before it aired in the U.S. starting in early 2021. When it did get here, though, fans were instantly disoriented by a change in setting, character, and tone. The most stunning moment basically happens when the fourth season opens, and viewers aren't on Paradis Island anymore. In fact, none of the characters fans have come to know are involved at all. Instead, viewers are now in Marley. This development sidelines the Survey Corps fans have been following for years — along with Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi, and the rest of the gang. Fans have no idea what has happened to the characters the show has spent three seasons building up.

In this heretofore unseen world, a group of young people hope to become candidates to inherit one of the Titan shifters. These episodes focus on Warrior candidates Gabi Braun and Falco Grice, four years after the failed mission to claim Eren's Founding Titan. In Marley, a giant class disparity between the Marleyans and the Eldians invites comparisons to Nazi Germany, despite the fact that Eldians are the only ones who can inherit and become Titans and the Marleyans are clearly dependent on Titans to obtain military victories. These new characters think of the residents of Paradis Island as "devils," and the move requires fans of the series to make the mental shift to identify with this world's characters — and to digest the revelations about Paradis, Titans, and Eren that follow. 

Only a couple of episodes remain unaired of the current season's 16. What we have is currently viewable via Hulu, Funimation or Crunchyroll; the last is expected to release on March 29. It's unclear what happens next: If the story doesn't get completed, Attack on Titan may follow season 4 part 1 with another set of episodes — a part 2, if you will. Or they could always release a movie. What is clear is that Attack on Titan isn't done throwing surprises at viewers, so expect more twists that'll leave you rethinking your reality.