In Season 4, Episode 9 of Attack on Titan, a recently departed hero continues to have a positive impact even after her death.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 4, Episode 9 of Attack on Titan, “Brave Volunteers,” streaming now on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Season 4, Episode 9 of Attack on Titan features a very revealing flashback, one that answers many questions about the time skip that occurs between Season 3 and Season 4. Most importantly, the flashback highlights the Marleyan captives that integrate into Eldian society and coexist alongside them — notably, the new character Niccolo.
Not much is own of Niccolo’s previous life in Marley. Instead, the focus is on his experience as a cook for the Survey Corps — and especially his bond with Sasha, an unlikely connection that continues to have a positive impact even after Sasha’s death.
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After Eren and the Survey Corps return to Paradis after their “victory” in Marley, Armin reminisces about the path that led them to where they are. The flashback shows how exactly the Marley scout ships were wrangled and destroyed, leaving the soldiers on Paradis in the captivity of the Scouts. One of these soldiers is Niccolo, once a cook for Marley but now a cook for Paradis. Niccolo picks up his old profession pretty quickly, despite the antagonistic feelings emanating from the Scouts. In a fantastic scene where the Scouts are about to eat seafood for the first time, Niccolo and Sasha begin to form a unique bond.
The citizens of Paradis have never had seafood before, previously being unable to reach the ocean. When Sasha puts a lobster in her mouth, she immediately starts crying. Any bad thoughts she had reserved for the Marleyan captives, and Niccolo specifically, instantly vanish. Soon Connie and Jean follow suit, gobbling down Niccolo’s cooking as fast as they can. His reaction? Shocked. People who are supposed to be “devils” to him are now eating his food and lavishing every moment of it. It only takes something as simple as food to bond these sworn enemies together.
Unfortunately, any potential relationship that could have developed between Niccolo and Sasha was dramatically cut short when Sasha was killed. In the present, Niccolo visits Sasha’s grave and is clearly heartbroken. Sasha’s parents arrive to pay their own respects and Niccolo invites them to enjoy his cooking any time, free of charge, just like their daughter once did. Despite all of their differences, Sasha’s parents shake his hand and agree to his offer. This just goes to prove that Sasha’s death wasn’t in vain — people from different backgrounds and opinions were brought together over her death.
Although Eldians and the Marleyans always find differences between them, there are clearly more things in common than not. Sasha’s death only proves that people can see eye-to-eye on things, especially if they care about it. At the end of the day, Sasha’s death brought Niccolo and her parents together in a way that otherwise would not have happened. Her death sheds light on the hope that one day, Eldians and Marleyans will finally be on the same team. While fans missed out on Sasha’s potential future romance, seeing her bond with a Marleyan chef was appropriate for her character, considering how much she loved food.
Sasha’s death was heartbreaking and shook fans of Attack on Titan, but the silver lining of this loss proves that it is possible to bring Eldians and Marleyans together. While Sasha’s presence will be sorely missed, her character lives on in what it brings to the future of the Scouts. Her death may inspire them to stop the endless cycle of killing and instead try to bring people together through commonalities. With the rest of the final season still ahead, Sasha’s death will hopefully change the Scouts’ opinion of the path that they are currently on.
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